Sunday, November 17, 2013

Yuletide Cheer Soap

A few snapshots from our Boise trip

It's that time of year! The holidays are almost here. Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away, and then Christmas will be here before we know it. I've got lots to do between now and then, as I'm sure all of you do, too.

But being busy didn't stop my husband and I from taking a break and visiting one of our favorite cities - Boise, Idaho. My first trip there was in 2008, and we've been back five times since. We love the downtown area, what with its myriad restaurants, pubs, shops, and events. We ate well (maybe a little too well, according to my scale), sampled some delicious Pacific Northwest beers (my favorite this trip was Sockeye's "Sprucin the Trail" ale, brewed with spruce tips), and visited the farmer's market and the Boise co-op. Boise State University also provided us with ample opportunities to get us some culture (goodness knows we need it) - we caught the symphony and an interpretive dance performance by the Idaho Dance Theatre. We dropped by Zoo Boise, where the meerkats in particular were hamming it up for the camera. The Idaho Steelheads were in town, so we caught a hockey game. (The Steelheads have never won when we are present. We are bad luck. But we did get to hang out with their mascot, Blue the bear!) And there was plenty of jogging to be done along the Boise River's Greenbelt. We try to go every autumn, and I am already looking forward to visiting again next year.

Now onto the things about the soap!

Say hello to "Yuletide Cheer," a holiday soap scented with a combo of Bramble Berry's Christmas Tree Cybilla and Elements Bath and Body's Rocky Mountain Christmas fragrance oils. (I had one ounce of the Christmas Tree FO and used another 0.6 oz. of the Rocky Mountain Christmas to make up the difference for two pounds of oils.) I love the droplet (or teardrop) effect, so I decided to make some green and gold swirls, since those colors make me think of Christmas trees. For the green, I used a hydrated chrome green pigment, mixed with some liquid glycerin to avoid clumping. For the gold, I chose gold sparkle mica. And I also added some titanium dioxide to the base to whiten it.

For this project, I wanted the soap at a thin trace so that the green and gold soap would penetrate the white layer and create pretty droplet swirls. It's important to choose a well-behaved recipe and fragrance oil for this technique.

After bringing the soap batter to a thin trace (I added the fragrance to the cooled oils before mixing in the lye solution), I portioned off 8 ounces each into two measuring cups. I colored one 8-ounce portion green and the other gold. Then I added the titanium dioxide to the remaining soap. I poured all of the white soap into the mold, and then poured the green soap from up high so that it would sink into the white layer. Then I did the same with the gold, drizzling it in a random pattern into the mold. A bit of green and gold soap was leftover in the measuring cups after pouring, so I used what was left to drizzle onto the tops. Then I used a spoon to swirl and push the soap on the very top layer around, giving it some interest and texture.

Here is a video I made showing the process and the cutting of this batch:


The droplet swirl is one of my favorite techniques because it creates such a beautiful effect. And no two bars are alike.

The Christmas tree-like scent is also fabulous! I wanted something that smells like balsam or fir or cedarwood or holly berry, or a combination of those fragrances. These two scents are balanced nicely on their own, and work well together, too. Not too pine-y, and definitely reminiscent of the holidays. I've never had a live Christmas tree, but I imagine that it might smell like this.

I've got one more holiday soap up my sleeve and I'll share it next time. (It's pepperminty!)

How are your holiday plans going? Got any fun trips planned over the next couple of months?

24 comments:

  1. Very pretty as always, Jer. A Christmas tree scent sounds fabulous and I'm looking forward to the pepperminty soap next time, too. Not planning any trips in the next couple of months, but I can't wait to see you again in a few weeks. Loved the video -- your music left me with feelings of comfort and joy!

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    1. Thanks, Mom! Glad that you enjoyed the video. I'm really happy with how all of my holiday soaps turned out this year. And I'm looking forward to seeing you guys soon, too!

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  2. Great swirl Jenny :)

    I start today in my holidays :)

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    1. Thank you, Krissi! I hope that you have a wonderful holiday season!

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  3. Jenny, it looks great! I love this technique

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    1. Thanks, Renata! I enjoy the droplet swirl technique, too. It's so much fun, and you never know what you're going to get until you cut the soap!

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  4. Beautiful! I'm a big fan of the teardrop technique, too. I love the shade of green you got.

    I spent a weekend in Boise once, but I didn't get to explore much of it. Flying into the town was SO gorgeous, though!

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    1. Thanks, Amy! The hydrated chrome green is one of my favorite pigments. And the droplet swirl is so much fun! It is a pretty flight to Boise. The mountains nearby and along the way are gorgeous, especially when they are topped with snow. I hope you have a chance to explore Boise some more someday!

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  5. Wow, Ckristmas tree scent? does it exist? I have never heard of it before!
    I like the technique too, and your soap looks very nice, Jenny!
    Great job, as always!

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    1. Thank you, Natalia! Both of the Christmas tree scents I used are lovely. Definitely favorites for the holiday season! Thanks so much for the compliments. :)

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  6. These turned out SO pretty Jenny, gorgeous droplet technique and I love that green color!

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    1. Thanks, Cee! The hydrated chrome green is one of my favorite colorants!

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  7. I can not decide what I like more: soaps or their pictures... Both are gorgeous! Thank you so much for sharing with us details from your trip, I really enjoyed reading it!

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    1. Thank you for the kind words, Gordana! We had a great time in Boise.

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  8. Hi Jenny! I was so facinated about the name of your blog post that I almost forgot to read what you had written :) I had never seen the word "yuletide" but I was 100% sure that it had to mean Christmas time, because the swedish word juletid (it is pronounced the same way) means that :D
    But back to your soap! I never seem the get those "double droplets" that you got in your soap. It is very pretty and that shade of green in especially beautiful.

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    1. Hi, Marika! I did not know about the Swedish word "juletid." Thanks for sharing that cool bit of trivia! And thank you for the compliments. I love that green colorant, too!

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  9. How funny! I made something like this last week too. I love that gold/yellow in yours, it really adds some very pretty contrast!

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    1. Thanks, Sue! I'm looking forward to seeing your soap, too! The gold mica is really nice. I use it pretty liberally to keep it shimmery and sparkly in soap. I think it would look great with red, too. It is a nice color any time of year, but especially for the holidays!

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  10. Funny, but I see two shades of green there, although I've watched the video and there is only one!!
    I was following your adventure via FB and I know how much, you guys, were enjoying it!
    Beautiful soap, Jenny and the video is also great. I like the way you do them!
    I also like this technique, haven't done it in a while, I just might do it again.

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    1. Thank you, Maja! It does sort of look like two different shades of green - the areas that have more green look darker. But it is only one! I just love the hydrated chrome green colorant and the droplet technique. We did have a fun trip, and I'm glad that you enjoyed following our adventure!

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  11. Wow....what a gorgeous soap Jenny. I can smell it in my mind....

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  12. Welcome back! Looks like you had a great time.

    I've never seen the teardrop effect before, that is so cool! And how do you manage to find music to match your video? You always do such an amazing job.

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    1. Thank you, Monica! We had a fun time in Boise. And I love the teardrop technique, too! Every batch looks unique. I got the music for the video from Jamendo.com - they have tons of free Creative Commons-licensed music. Thanks for the kind words!

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