Great Cakes Soapworks Challenge- The Hanger Swirl

This is my very first Soapworks Challenge.  I have viewed numerous videos made by experienced soapermakers on YouTube who were participating in the past months’ challenges.  Even though I am a newbie soaper I decided to give it a try, just for fun!  The challenge for this month is the hanger swirl.

For this challenge I used Fresh Snow fragrance oil from Brambleberry.  It reminds me of fresh, crisp, clean laundry.  I think it is a fragrance that can be enjoyed year round, not just for the winter season.  I have used it once before and it doesn’t discolor or accelerate trace so that is why I chose to use it again.  For colorants I used Brambleberry’s Electric Bubble Gum to make a light and dark pink, Ultramarine Blue and Titanium Dioxide.  This is actually my second attempt at the hanger swirl.  I didn’t love how my first soap turned out.  Hanger swirl, take two!

If you would like to watch the video version click here.

Getting started…

Here is my hanger!  I bent it to the size of my mold and attached a small dowel rod to it with electrical tape.  This would not hold up for multiple uses.   Mine came untaped soon after using it just this one time.  I need to find a better tool for future hanger swirls.

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Pouring the dark pink in the mold.  Next a layer of light pink and white.

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Here is the blue layer.  Another light and dark pink layer went on top of that.

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And now for the swirl!!  I just went up and down throughout the mold one way, and then again up and down back the other way.  You could swirl in any direction.  Side to side, around in circles, figure eight, so many options!

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Topping with the white.  Oh my goodness, I am messy!!  Slopped it right off the side. The last bit of dark pink went down the middle.  I textured the top and sprinkled with glitter.

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And here it is!  I let it rest and harden for 24hrs.

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24hrs later, it is ready to cut with my NEW cutter!  Best tool EVER!  I love that it cuts each piece the same exact size.  No more hand cutting for me!  You can get a cutter like this one on Etsy here.

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Don’t you love how each piece is unique? Here are my favorites…

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The last two pictures are below.  This soap will be ready for use in 6 weeks.  I can’t wait!  Thanks to Amy at Great Cakes Soapworks for such a fun challenge.  🙂

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Soap, Soap, Soap

Over the last several months I have been making what is called “melt and pour” soaps.  You may have seen them on the website or on Facebook or even Instagram.  Cute Soapscicles, Bonbon soaps, Petit Fours, etc.  All of those soaps are made from a soap base that I melt, then add pretty colors, add fragrance and pour it into a mold.  This is a very safe way to make soap because there is no mixing of lye which is caustic and very dangerous.  I subscribe to several different blogs which share recipes for both melt and pour and what is called “cold process” (all handmade) soap.  I loved the look of those soaps and the idea of making soap from scratch. Although the “caustic lye” part kinda made me nervous.

Early on I began to watch countless hours of videos and read as much as I possibly could about cold process soap making.  It was intriguing.  I finally decided to go ahead and give it a try so I ordered a few extra supplies that I needed and when they arrived… I still spent my time watching more and more videos.  I stayed up to all hours of the night reading and learning.  Night after night after night. Week after week.  Finally I realized that I needed to stop reading about making soap and watching other people make soap and just MAKE SOAP!!

So I did.  My first batch was very scary.  I was anxious and nervous and excited all at the same time.  But I made it through and found that I REALLY enjoyed it!  I love trying different recipes and colorants and techniques.  Now all I think about is soap.  All I want to do all day is make soap.  I am a bit obsessed but so excited to have found a new passion that I can share with you all.

I still plan to keep some of the cute melt and pour soaps.  Those Soapscicles are one of my favorites!  But now I can offer some other options as well.  Don’t you love options?  There will be something for everyone!

I plan to make some natural fragrance free soaps, like this one with made with coconut oil,

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soaps made with essential oils and natural colorants, (peppermint smells SO good!)

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and soaps that are made with wonderful smelling fragrance oils and fun colors.

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Over the last couple weeks I have made several batches of cold process soap, each a different recipe.  In 4-6 weeks these soaps will be ready for use. Yes, we have to wait 4-6 weeks… being patient for the soap to cure is the hard part!  At that time I will need some “soap testers”.  People who will try a small chunk of each soap, answer some questions and give me an honest opinion on which ones they like best and why.  I have plenty of family members who would be willing to test them but I would like for some others to test them as well.  I need 8 men and/or women.  Are you interested?  If you are, go to my Facebook page here and comment under the post that shares this blog post!  The first 8 people to comment will have the opportunity to test all the soaps and get a bar of their favorite soap as a gift from me.  Can you help me out?

Winter Hibernation

I can’t believe it is already February 8th.  Where did January go?  January always seems to be a hard month for me, I  want to stay the house and not leave.  I don’t know if it because December is such a busy month and I am exhausted, or if I feel some post-Christmas depression, or if it is just the fact that it’s so cold in January.  I hate getting out in the cold!  All I want to do is stay at home, keep warm, drink hot cocoa and eat unhealthy food.  I just want to hibernate!

So here is what I have been doing while in hibernation mode…

POLKA DOT SOAP

This is {supposed to be} a polka dot soap with soap frosting on top.  As you can see I obviously haven’t perfected this one yet, haha!  Not too bad for a first attempt, I guess.  Next time more polka dots, more of that bottom layer of soap and less fluffy soap on top.  It may not look pretty but it smells WONDERFUL!!  Champagne & Raspberries, super yummy!  I hope to make a better version of that soap up there and some other pretty, delicious smelling soaps to sell at events this Spring.  I am thinking about a layered birthday cake type looking soap with that fluffy soap frosting and sprinkles or glitter on top… or soap cupcakes!  What do you think?

CAKE BALLS

These soap cake balls were so much fun to make!  My sister-in-law makes and sells real, edible cake balls so I thought I would make some out of soap!  With dark chocolate fragrance oil… they smell good enough to eat!  I hope to get my hands on a few real cake balls and take pictures of them with my soap cake balls to see how much they look alike.   Be sure to check instagram and Facebook  in the upcoming week for those pictures.  These soaps are not for sale on the website.  Maybe something to add next year for Valentine’s Day!

HEART SOAP

Conversation Heart Soaps!  Each soap is about 2 oz and they are packaged two for $5, for sale on the website.   They smell just like candy!  These were a little tricky at first.  See those little words on top?  They kept getting stuck in the mold instead of on the soap.  I had some great smelling heart soaps with missing letters!  After a couple more unsuccessful tries, I finally got it to work, whew!  I made some pink hearts with white words, too.   I am happy with how they turned out, so cute!

So that is what I have been up to while hibernating the last few weeks.  My family and friends love it when I take time to try new recipes, especially when the recipes don’t turn out quite perfect.  Maybe because I give the “mistakes” to them, haha!

Are there any products you would like to see added to the product line?  Or fragrances?  I love hearing your ideas!  You can post comments here or send an email to contact@shoptheyum.com.

Just when you think you have things all planned out…

…the plan changes. This is how I became the owner of The Yum-Yum Shoppe.

When my youngest child started kindergarten I began thinking about what I wanted to be when I “grew up”.  After high school I attended MidAmerica Nazarene University (it was actually just a college back then, that shows my age, haha). I finished all my coursework in Elementary Education, except for my student teaching. By that time I was married and had two babies, Caleb was one and Abby was a newborn. I always knew I wanted to be a stay at home mom so I didn’t finish my degree. My husband graduated from MNU, got a job, we moved to Lawrence and I became a stay at home mom like I always wanted!

Fast forward a few years (maybe a few more than a few) and add four more kids (Rachel, Nate, Lydia and Julia)… who were all now in school.  I know, I skipped a big chunk of time here but that will have to wait for another post.  With all the kids in school it was just time for me to go back and get a degree… in … something.  I had no idea what.  I researched several different programs that I thought might be interesting.  Sonography, polysomnography, social work and radiological technology. They all required going back to school for three or four years. UGH. I just didn’t want to spend that much time in school. Then one afternoon I was researching nursing degrees online and found an accelerated nursing program at where else but my alma mater, MNU! One year.  Perfect!  I only needed a few pre-requisites that I could take at a Community College.  Rigorous curriculum but done in less than two years total. YES!  I enrolled in school, sent transcripts, met with a counselor, planned my schedule and prepared the kids for the upcoming crazy schedule that would be ahead of us.  I was ready.  I FINALLY knew what I was going to be when I grew up.  A NURSE!  Such a relief. I had it all planned out.

A week or so later I received an email from my dear friend Talitha.  She sent it to a small group of old good friends, saying she was seriously considering selling The Yum-Yum Shoppe. Now I had been around the Yum from the beginning.  I met Talitha in Mother’s Of PreSchoolers (MOPS) back when our older kiddos were toddlers.  She started making those sweet body treats in her kitchen with another friend, and I kind of wanted to be a part of it somehow.  I loved the products, but the timing just wasn’t right back then. I had four or five kids at the time.  Maybe four and pregnant with # five??  At some point along the way I told Talitha if she ever decided to add consultants that I would be interested. Years later, in 2011 I became a “peddler of the Yum” and helped Talitha with some local vendor events and sales.  With all the kids’ activities keeping me busy (mostly taxi driving them around here and there) it was difficult to add one more thing to my plate.  “Peddling” was pushed to the back burner. The timing, once again, just wasn’t right.

Back to Talitha’s email. As soon as I read that email I just felt like I wanted to be the one to carry on The Yum-Yum Shoppe.  My kids were older and more self-sufficient. I could do this. But I had just enrolled in school.  I KNEW I was going to go back to school to be a nurse, right?  I had a plan. On the other hand how could I pass up this opportunity to be a part of something I had always wanted to be involved in?  I weighed all my options, prayed about it and discussed all the pros and cons with my husband. He gave me some wise advice. He said if I didn’t give The Yum-Yum Shoppe a try I would always regret it.  I would always wonder “what if??”. He was right.

A few short weeks later I became the new owner of The Yum-Yum Shoppe!  You know, I have always been the type of person who can recreate what someone else has already created.  Whether it be something I am sewing or cooking or crafting. I’m not all that creative on my own, but I can take what someone else has made and make it again.  Talitha is innovative and creative.  She developed the most wonderful recipes for yummy, delicious body products and all I have to do is recreate her creations. It worked out perfectly.

Becoming the owner of The Yum-Yum Shoppe wasn’t my plan.  I had planned to go back to school to be a nurse.  But this plan, God’s plan, is so much better than MY plan.

I am so thankful for this opportunity to make sweet body treats for you!