Thursday, November 10, 2016

Cosmic Christmas

Every year, my husband and I take turns choosing our style of Christmas tree decor.

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:
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:
The latter is one of a handful of decelerating fragrances I use only when I need to, as they all have a cloying and rotten-smelling note. Bleh, but they work!

  • 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...


  1. Claudia, these are beautiful as always!!! I did a half and half soap to use a brown discoloring soap on the bottom, and then the wave on the top. The cosmic wave seems to be an "ace up the sleeve" technique when you need it most!

  2. Looks fantastic, Claudia! I wouldn't change a thing!! I hadn't considered the idea of just doing the cosmic wave on top, but I'm sure it would work. I think it was good to do the technique throughout for the challenge just for the sake of practice (which I know I needed!).

  3. Thanks, Amy. I figured I should do the whole thing, as that was what was shown, but you're right -- it wasn't until the end that I started to get the hang of it. And yours turned out so fabulous that it spurred me on... :)

  4. Sweet looking soap and beautiful color combination! That's a great idea to pour only on the top layer for sure.

  5. Claudia:
    Nice colors and wave! Great idea to just do the top and Sara's idea for the discoloring FO on the bottom!
    I am always learning so much from all I need to do is remember it!!

  6. This is so pretty. Makes me like it's already Christmas

  7. Beautiful! The colors work very well together. It all came together so well. I am impressed!!!

  8. Gorgeous! Thanks for all the details. I will re-do a cosmic swirl with you suggestions!

  9. Gorgeous !! I love the colour choice!! That is one classy christmas soap :-)

  10. I love the colors. Great job. This was such a hard challenge, but you obviously rocked it.

  11. So gorgeous, as always, Claudia! I really love all the different color and wave variations between the individual pours. Well done!

  12. Your palette is lovely. I think your take on Christmas colors is imaginative yet cohesive. I also really like your tiny waves. So pretty!

  13. Great colors in your soap! turned you fantastic. Nice job!

  14. Claudia!you are a true artist and you never ever disappointed me.
    Please note: BIG FAN HERE
    Love you