Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Black Raspberry Vanilla - In the pot swirl challenge soap

Many of you who know me as a soaper should know that I don't normally do well with in-the-pot swirls. I tend to over mix or do something catastrophic where it doesn't come out right. I'm much more comfortable doing drop swirls or tiger stripe swirls. That being said I didn't have high hopes for this soap, but I thought I may as well try it.

Here are some pictures of the making of the soap.

Soap base is made, colors are on stand-by, now I just need to separate, color and fragrance this batch

Color complete!! This is not a black but a very dark purple. I love it! 

Raspberry color as a base

Add some purple

Then white... rinse and repeat.

Before I turned a spoon through it

Tried not to muddy it up, so I only put a teaspoon through this once.

Pour it all in. I'll admit, at this stage it looks like a muddy mess to me.

Scrape out all the jugs on top. Looks pretty!

Spoon the rest of the white on top and plop some M&P Blackberries on top. 

Glitter and done. Gorgeous dahlink. We shall see what it looks like when it's cut!

Ready to find out?

Here we go!

I'm actually quite thrilled with how it turned out. What I thought was going to be a disastrous mess ended up being quite a pretty swirl. I will definitely try this again. I've learned something from this go-round with the ITP swirl.. thicker trace is much better than thin trace. =) 

Thanks for reading this post and best of luck to all entrants. Thanks to Amy for this opportunity to show off our masterpieces (for we all are winners in the soapy books) and for the chance to try out new design techniques and/or try again with ones that are outside our comfort zones. 

Until next time!
Shannon @ Smellicious

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Color Challenge Soap for Great Cakes Soap Works

After much internal struggle and trying to figure out what soaps I will need in the near future, I decided to go with the "Mineral Autumn" color palette. I also chose to scent this soap in Applejack & Peel to go with the colors I selected from the palette. I decided to go with orange, red, and yellow. 

Color Palette:

Here are the colors I chose to go with:

For the Orange I mixed Orange Heaven mica with Orange Sorbet mica
both from The Conservatorie

For the Red I mixed Merlot Satin mica with Electric Bubblegum colorant
Merlot Satin from The Conservatorie and Electric Bubblegum from Bramble Berry

Last, for the Yellow I chose Yellow Vibrance Mica from Nurture Soap Supplies

After mixing, they looked like this:

Next, here are some pictures of the soap in action

Before mounding the rest of the batter on top

After mounding with some swirl

Added some snow glitter... pretty!

Last, but not least.. here is a picture of the soap loaf unmolded and read for cutting and then the final product in my front yard in natural light. 

Looks kind of like fire doesn't it?

Probably the prettiest soap I've made and it smells fabulous. A great first edition for my fall line. 

Thank you all for joining me on this color challenge journey. I welcome questions if you have any. Best of luck to all entrants. I had so much fun making this soap and trying hard to match the color swatch. I may not have the best eye for color matching, but I think I did a bang up job with only one try and also working with the colors I already had. 
This red is by far the best red I've come up with so far in all of my soaping. The orange could have stood out a bit more, but I think I did very well matching it with the palette. I hoped the yellow would darken up to a darker gold color and it sure did. So I'm absolutely thrilled with how this soap came out. =)

Until next time!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Cake Soap Cutter from Bud Haffner

So, I'll go ahead and preface this with a simple factoid. I'm terrible at cutting cakes. I'm no genius in making them either, soap or food lol (although my food ones disappear in a satisfying fashion). I made this cake in order to cut it with my new cake cutter and I made a few errors in judgement along the way. One, my pretty purple flower embeds that went on top were a bit large, so I only put 10 of them on instead of 12 which foresight did not tell me would be more difficult to cut. With that said, please keep this mind when looking at my cut cake slices. They're not perfect because I cut it all wonky before I caught on to how I was supposed to be cutting this cake (after the initial cut halving the cake).

So here is the cutter.. squeeee!!!!!

I contacted Bud Haffner a few weeks ago and told him that I believe there may be a market for Soap Cake cutters. Why? I know I can't be the only one who has issues cutting cakes. My previous cakes looked great before I cut them, and then inevitably I would cut and the cake would split and crumble on the sides and bottom of the slices. Sometimes they would crumble or split so bad I couldn't repair all of the slices well enough to sell. Loss of product makes me a sad soaper.

Anyway so he sent me this cutter to try out. I'm thrilled with the outcome of this cutter for several reasons. A) It does exactly what I wanted it to do. It cuts my cakes perfect with zero splitting or crumbling. Of course with the wrong number of slices, I had a more difficult time cutting it (because I'm an idiot pretty much) than I would have had had I made 12 slices instead of 10. Lesson learned and that's all I can ask really.
B) I'm quite positive it can/will do more than cut cakes. I plan on using this to cut my shorter soap loaves into a chunkier bar than my tank cutter cuts (I have the 1" version).
C) It's made by Bud Haffner, so of course the craftsmanship is superb. Can't ask for more than that!!

So here are the slices I came out with. Two of them (which I've cleverly, or not-so-cleverly, hidden in the back) are about 1 oz smaller than the rest. They all average about 7.5 oz. Big slices!! If I'd had 12 slices instead of 10 I would have had 12 slices at about 6 oz each (guesstimating).

Did you see some of the slices on the table to the right of the cutter. That's the product of fixing my wonky cuts from cutting the first half of the cake, when I hadn't yet grasped how to cut 5 slices from half of a cake. I would normally have 6 slices from half so you'd just quarter that half. I was so confused. lol

I think they turned out quite well. Better than any other cake I've had from previous tries, that's for sure!! Let's see if I can drag up some not-so-lovely pictures from previous cakes. I have made two that I can remember.

You can barely tell in this picture that there was significant splitting along the bottom of the cake. See the half that's still in tact? Along the left shows a split and the gap between the two slices at the bottom of the picture shows crumbling in that half of a cake at the bottom. I will say that even with that said, this cake was my most successful. 

This cake was a nightmare from start to finish. It was my first cake so I cut myself a bit of slack. It smelled awesome!! It was a pineapple cake fragrance, so mouthwatering. My frosting all separated from the base of the cake and I had to "glue" it back on with M&P. The bottom crumbled and the sides split something awful. I think I had 8 usable slices from this batch. If you couldn't tell why the top separated, it was because I tried to do a mica line in between. Bad idea. 

Now that I have this cake cutter I will be making many many more soap cakes. I couldn't be more happy! 
If you don't already have a single wire soap cutter, I would suggest you get this one if you're into making soap cakes. The great thing about this cutter is that I can use it for soap loaves as well. I will make sure to demonstrate cutting a normal soap loaf as soon as I've made one that I want to cut thicker bars from than my tank cutter makes (also from Bud Haffner). 

I hope you find this soap cake cutter as thrilling as I do. I just wanted to help out anyone who might make cakes and find them as difficult to cut as I do. I believe Bud is asking $100 plus shipping for this beauties which is a bargain if you ask me!!! Don't quote me on that though, we only briefly discussed this point when discussing the development of this cutter. 

If you'd like one, make sure to send Bud a message or request a custom order on his Etsy shop located here:

Until next time!
Shannon @ Smellicious

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What is Smellicious up to this year?

Just a little update to let you all know what I am up to this year.

Considering I'm still relatively new to the biz, I've decided that I'm going to set a plan in motion to keep going what I started last year and make myself a name and a face in the community.

Last year I signed up to do a 6 month long craft fair.. that sounds a bit extreme but here is the gist. It's the first Saturday of every month May - October. It's not bad actually. It's in a well-traveled new-ish strip mall here in Sparks. Legends Mall, where you'll find Scheels, the new Imax theater, and Outlet stores for things like Sanrio (Hello Kitty), Adidas, Gap.. etc. Last year was the first set of craft fairs there so the organizer and the Mall itself had no idea what to expect really. It was kind of a mess at first. The first 3 fairs we did great. The Mall decided we needed to move our booths to an area with more room, but this ended up hindering sales. The organizer has come to an agreement about this year and we will be set up near the Imax where there is a ton of room, so I'm hoping this will mean more foot traffic and therefore more sales.

I also signed up (mid-season) last year for a small Farmer's Market in Sparks which starts in June. There are quite a few in the area, and this one is just a small guy. I think there were 5 booths of fresh produce, and then about another 5 booths like mine (well... there was Avon, a popcorn person, the "egg lady", the Lavender guy, and beef jerky vendor who dropped out with the popcorn vendor a few weeks after I started). Oh, and a fresh meat rancher guy. It runs every Tuesday from 7 am - 1 pm which are great hours. I'm not sitting out there allllll day, and I generated about 2-3 times my booth fee which isn't bad, however my booth fee is pretty low considering. I've talked with the organizer of that market and he said he's had great feedback about my product and loads of people asking if I'm coming back. Good prospects.

Other than that, I haven't committed to anything else. I'm sure I will find a fair or market here or there to attend in the meantime, although I'm not actively looking. I'm refining a few products that I've offered in the previous markets so I'm hoping they will be a hit.

I've also become a completely legitimate business woman. I now have most of my licenses (need the city license, but I'm not too fussed because the markets/fairs offer a blanket license fee for their events) and I've registered my DBA (doing business as, in conjunction with my state license) and I'm now insured. I'm pretty happy with myself for accomplishing these most important tasks. It's just one more step in the right direction to realizing my dreams.

Thank you all for your support in my venture. You are helping me continue to do what I love to do, so I dearly hope you love what I offer.

If you're in the area, you should stop on by one of my shows and say hi. If you'd like a closer look at where I'll be in the coming months, take a look at my Event Calender on my website, it will tell you where I'll be.

Thanks for reading, and until next time....

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Drop Swirl Challenge - Great Cakes Soap Works

Here we are again for another Great Cakes Soap Works challenge!! This time it's for the drop swirl which I've done a bazillion times. Of course, I had to be difficult and use a fragrance oil I've never used before... the results are interesting to say the least. Here are some pictures of my process (you can click on the pics for a bigger view)...

The beginning
 Adding my lye solution
 Pretty colors!!!
 Adding my fragrance.... wait for it!
 Oy... it's ricing on me! I didn't add fragrance to the white
 Poured my base
 Plopped in my purple
 Drizzled some white on that
 Plop in some green..
 More base..
 Rinse and repeat

 Texturing the top
 Drizzle on the rest of the white
 Adding some glitter (a sample from The Conservatorie)
 Ta Da!!!! Ooooh how does it look inside??

Like that!! I'm surprised it came out so well!

It never fails that I'm doing a challenge and my soap misbehaves on me. I could have done this exact same soap with the same fragrance and it would have been fine.. I know the soap gremlins are out to get me lol. Anyway, lesson learned. From now on, for all challenges, I will use a fragrance I'm familiar with and I know how it will act.

I hope you liked this blog post, please tell me what you think in the comments below.