This year it's his choice, which means brightly colored balls, big 1970's lights and lots of tinsel. Very Brady Bunch. Next year, we'll have little twinkly white lights and delicate ornaments in muted colors -- stopping just short of Martha Stewart, but only because I have less staff. ;)
So what does this have to do with soap? Everything -- if you're me!
This month's soap challenge is called the Cosmic Wave. It's one of the more difficult ones we've attempted, because you have to get the batter thickness, color balance and placement exactly right.
I mean exactly.
And you have to have some luck on your side, as once you mix the colors in the pot and pour, they need to just flow out as they will, without one wiggling them about. This works just fine as a study in Brownian motion, but is nerve wracking if you're as control-oriented as I am!
In my first attempt, my batter was too thin, and each successive pour just sunk to the bottom in a muddy mess. On my second try, the batter was too thick, and it ended up looking like a blobby finger painting.
What you see here is my third, and while I'd love a few more tries, we're heading out of town at the crack of dawn, so it'll just have to do:
The colors are some of my favorites for Christmas: lichen, plum and raisin. And while not traditional, I really like how they go together, especially for the holidays:
- Lichen: Green oxide and True yellow
- Plum: Soapberry purple, Red lake and Bright pink
- Raisin: Soapberry purple, Chocolate brown and Brown oxide
Since I used only 5% of the batter for each color, I super-saturated them at 1.5 t/ppo. The remaining 85% was colored with titanium dioxide.
For this intricate technique, I used a slower-moving variant of my go-to recipe:
- 30% Lard
- 41% Costco Mediterranean Blend Oil
- 25% Coconut Oil
- 4% Castor Oil
Which just means altering the ratio to use less coconut and castor with more olive/canola/grapeseed than I normally do.
For the fragrance, I mixed:
- Soaped at about 85F
- Used no lye discount, as I mixed my colorants 1:3 with fractionated coconut oil
- Used my standard 1.5:1 water:lye ratio with 1 oz/ppo of both fragrance and 60% sodium lactate
- Mixed quite a bit with a standard stick blender, as the decelerant slowed things down almost too much
- CPOP'd in a 140F oven for two hours, and unmolded after four hours
Next time, I'd do almost all of it as a quick in-the-pot swirl, and just add the cosmic wave technique on the tops. There's really no point to doing it elsewhere, as it won't show. D'oh! That way, I could also skip the decelerant and make a much bigger batch.
Which is exactly what I'm planning to do for my Christmas Sugar Plum Swirl...