Artisan soaps made from luxurious oils and exotic butters with milks, creams and silk fibers; to the whimsy of glycerine soap creations. Full of fluffy bubbles and velvet lathers, once your skin it treated to handmade soap you will never go back. bytheSEAsoap was born out of the love of TSPink soap rocks some fifteen years ago. I found those soaps at a Nevada City Art Gallery and my obsession for beauty in a bar of soap began. I still have a small piece of that first soap! ~~Pam Mella~~

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Oh joy and the other delights of experimentation.  Keeps your mind flexible whatever the subject, product, activity!  As a fellow soaper says " A Mistake is so much fun, You just have to do it again"!

This weeks Internationale Soaping Challenge # 6 has been a challenge.  My first try was so successful in many ways that I just had to push my luck and go for a second!  Called the faux funnel swirl technique using colors and circles of soap to design with.  Cutting techniques can also come into play with this challenge.

The hostess of these fun soaping design and ingredient challenges  is  Amy @  Great Cakes Soap Works  whose soap can be found here  .     Amy has been a tireless hostess for the soap challenges and currently 93 soapers from around the world are involved on one level or another.  She has even arranged a soap swap for those of the group who are interested in that activity.  Go Amy and thank you so much for all the inspiration!  This challenge will live on in infamy I think!  

As I'm always one holiday, celebration day behind what is current for some reason, here is my Earth Day soap one week delayed and not yet cured!  Heh heh.    OK start with a color a soap recipe and a fragrance, hopefully one that doesn't travel too fast.  Well my favorite colors are blues and greens!  So that was the easy part the planning the beginning.  Ah but to add 5colors well that  was a challenge.  I had two blues, one clear and one grayed and three greens (but only added two), and for a contrast the yellow. 

 The fragrance I chose was Energy, like solar?  The name of this soap was definitely an after thought, like after I cut the soap and saw it looked like distant photos of the earth from space!  LOL a fertile imagination is a necessity here!   So now you know why I call this Earth Day soap which includes the solar  "Energy Fragrance Oil"  which is such a lovely bright citrus.

NAME this soap and sure there will be a prize  for the winner whose name is chosen and the runner up!  The drawing will be May 16th after a trip to Portland!  Hope to see you there too!

Here is my second FAUX FUNNEL SWIRL soap for  week # 6 Great Cakes Soap Works challenge.  I like this type of design.  It was such fun albeit it messy with so many color bowls!

I wanted summer colors this time and an opportunity to use my new pink!  I chose a yellow, electric bubble gum pink ( oh boy!  and it glows in the dark-neon) a  teal type color with a lavender thrown in.  Ok over the top but if you are doing it might as make it memorable!

Well this soap wasn't as successful as I had hoped but hope springs eternal and it all worked out well in the end!  The soap technique and the fragrance ( a tropical floral of course)  well didn't agree with each other so here is the improvisation of the original design!    Not to despair as the colors and the fragrance are just so wonderful together for summer!

Slab cut into 3 logs

Do these colors look like a Grecian beach to you?

This Bramble Berry Birch Mold is a favorite especially for the new techniques I'm working on!
Now it just needs some time and a name!
It seems as I worked up the colors separately I need to add the fragrance separately also.  So that was a new process.   OOPS first bottom 3 layers set up quite quickly.  OK I poured the bottom layer alla Anita's LaLaLand soaping technique for beautiful flowers and friendship soaps!   Thank you Anita!  In went a stiff layer of the base soap but the beautiful teal and lavender pour wouldn't penetrate the base color, oh NO!  Hurry, think quick, the teal poured out in a smooth layer but by the time I got to the lavender/purple I had to spoon it in and clump a  lump it!

Now for the pink and yellow well no fragrance there, I'm learning!  Did a touch of pooling and swizzle sticking but that was the whole of it.   The bottom layers were too set up for me to do inserts for these bars.  That turned out to be just fine as I cut the entire slab by hand and didn't get too crooked this time.  Practice makes the job not so intimidating with each new attempt!   Into the oven for a bit and well here you have a soap that reminds me of a beach in Capri!   Sometimes the good the bad and the lumpy work out just fine, and that is a good thing. 

So ends this weeks tales of "The adventures of a frantic soap maker"!  Adieu!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Good Sunday morning!  The sun is shining the birds are chirping and the bees are a hummin all around.  Even the hummers are out early today.  My garden inspires my new adventures in blending fragrances!

I had guests yesterday and it was their first visit to our home.  They are city people and were so intrigued with the scent of the air as they walked up the path to the house.  We did a tour of the yard.  The Cecil Breunner Roses just beginning their bloom, it is a baby pink rose climber.  To our guests amazement we still have some of the grapefruit, oranges and lemons left from the harvest and the gorgeous new orange blossoms just emerging!

Oh lovely the "garden smells of gardenias"!   Gardenias are on THE list for next fall!  The combination of of roses, rosemary, aloe and orange blossoms. Smells almost like gardenias.

It smells of heaven to me, I'm positive,  right here in the orange groves with the bees joining in the choir of the yard humming their life saving tunes.  It is ironic that oranges are actually self pollinating but don't tell the sweet bees this.  They are loving every breath of the orange blossoms loaded and burdened with golden pollen as they head back to their queen their home.

My favorite time of year for morning garden wandering is right now!  Not to hot  not to cold, just right for a bathrobe tour!  Grab a cup a, and head to the garden with a a camera too!  This inspired my Gardener's Sunrise Soap for the 5th Week Challenge.  Many thank yous to Amy at the GreatCakesSoapWorks!  Check her blog for all the beautiful creations that Amy's blog and challenges have produced here .

A few photos of this new to me fragrance and essential oil blended soap.  Originally I was going to call it Maui Sunrise, but changed it this morning following my garden tour to Gardeners Sunrise.  It has grated lemon and orange peels for exfoliation, some is added to the entire batch and some is layed in a pencil line with a touch og green and orange mica's also.  The fragrance is a combination of  Orange Grove, appropriate sweet and Litsea bright and lemon, with a touch of plumaria to go!  My next batch will be rose to replace the plumaria!   The blend Orange Grove  2.5 parts, Plumaria .5  and Litsea .25.  YUM.   It smells so nice we will have to see when it cures how it holds.  I love it and here are a few photos to share.

Glorious Bees
Baby Roses, Aloe in Bloom the left bottom orange blossoms and the end of the rosemary bloom on the right!
Gardener's Sunrise
Thank you and a shout out ( I never thought I would use that descriptiveshout out! LOL),   to Mz. Holly of Missouri River Soap for introducing me to glitter! She is an inspiration!  Glitter it is so much fun and just the right touch!  Need a better glitter photo for next time.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Well I got into the wine for this one!  Actually I use Merlot to make tomato sauce and had only 1 cup to use.  So I used what I had on hand.  It is amazing to me 1 cup of Merlot can be reduced in a sauce pan to 1/4 cup of wine syrup.  As I was only making a small batch for decoration it was the perfect amount.  Added a touch of water and soaped away.

Once again thanks so much to Amy of GreatCakesSoap Works for her nudge and helping hands.  She has brought together a group and stirred the pot of imagination for many experience and learning soapmakers! You can find her blog posts  here.

So this is how Merlot Cheese Cake worked for me.  You can tell I'm still working on Week 3 piping challenge my wedding cake shaped soap wasn't ready for the week 3 piping challenge.  So I thought I'd incorporate the two challenges together..Week 3 with Week 4 added on top.  Much fun.

Adding Merlot Wind syrup and lye solution into the oils.  I did add a touch of white after this was incorporated and a touch of clay too.

 Well a bit of green was needed for this project and the soap color turned out better than expected!  The majority of the soap has a small amount of TD and the color the Merlot left in the soap.
 And here we go a Merlot Wine Guest Soaps!
 Merlot Frosted Cheese Cake this was such a fun cake to do.  Yes my first cake attempt.  Find the right container and I went for it.  In this case this is a Healthy Choice dinner bowl from a former bachelors favorite frozen food isle!  Rice and veggies medley!  Something my Gene picked up at Costco when he was out shopping on his own!  I'm happy it wasn't a case of sardines.
 Last but not least is Merlot Frosted Cup Cakes.  I'm really enjoying the piping and have learned more the second time around!  Amy thank you so much!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Well this is the third week of Amy Warden's GreatCakesSoapWorks Challenge and what a challenge it was!  I actually started out with my first attempt being the most successful.  Finding the right texture for the soap to be frosted is a determining factor on all the piping!  LOL  I used vetiver with lavender.
Check out everyone's beautiful soaps and drop a note of thanks to Amy also here    GreatCakesSoapWorks Challenge  

My second try is very pretty and smells beautifully and well the colors faded and the texture of the piping wasn't the best.  Did I mention that it smells wonderfully!  Lemon Sugar!

My third attempt is current and not complete.  Well you see I actually took the time to design a soap make embeds and such. measuring how much soap for each layer of a cake!  Well oops, the top of the cake is the first poured and well it is at the bottom of the mold, ala wedding cake style!  So it needed to set up and cure before it could come out of the mold and well be frosted!  The best laid plans.  New discovery,  I am more of an organic type soaper, not great at fussy!  

My youtube with only two videos.  I promise to make one soon.  I need a filmer!