So excited!! Here it is my finished entry for the September Soap Challenge … Garden of Enchantment. Though I say so myself, it turned out better than expected and I’m actually quite chuffed with this one.
My inspiration came from bridal boquets. I love the soft, vintage pink of the roses, and the creamy white tinged with green. My colours are perhaps not quite as subtle, but I think I’ve captured the sense of a full bouquet of roses.
I used a very simple soap formula (equal quantities of castor oil, olive oil, palm oil, and coconut oil superfatted at 5%) and didn’t use any fragrance in my batter for piping. But I did want the base soap to have a soft, feminine, floral scent. Because I wasn’t going for fancy swirls in the base, I figured I could get away with something that might have slight acceleration. So I headed over to Gracefruit (as they always give details as to how their fragrances behave in CP) and ordered myself some Enchantment allergen free fragrance oil (now you know how I came up with the name 😉 ). They describe it as: “a crisp, sweet and delicately fruity floral with light citrus top notes of lemon and orange, leading on to a heart of peony, freesia, Casablancan lily, jasmin, rose, orris, frangipani and violet leaves. All resting on a sumptuous base of musk, woods, cassis, orchid and plum”. How luscious does that sound! It certainly lived up to its description.
I wondered long and hard about what shape to make the base soap. I kept visualising a soap loaf, but then worried that when cut you would lose a lot of the impact of the floral top. Then I thought about going for a round soap cake. It could certainly look very pretty, (I think I was heavily influenced by all the fantastic cakes I watched being iced on You Tube 😉 ) but I find wedge shaped soap really awkward to use. So I decided to go with my slab mould as it would give me a larger top area on each bar to show off the flowers.
As I was going to enter into the competition and wanted it to have as great a visual impact as possible, I decided to decorate the entire slab and cut later, rather than using the dividers to make individual bars. Before placing the flowers I scored the top of the slab to indicate where it would be cut, and tried to place the flowers so that once cut each bar would have a pretty, feature flower. Each bar should stand alone as a pretty design, but now that it’s made I don’t think I can bring myself to cut it!
It is decorated with a mix of pre-made flowers (see my previous post) and some iced directly onto the base.
Yes, I know I should be wearing gloves, but they were such a pfaff when trying to do delicate work that I decided to risk it. I kept a vinegar soaked cloth to hand and wiped my hands with it if I got any little bits of raw soap on my fingers. Pleased to say my skin is still intact.
All the piped elements, apart from the leaves, were piped with two colours in the one piping bag. The pinks were just too close in tone to do anything but give a bit of variation between blooms. The cream roses came out better. I was aiming for the effect of soft creamy blooms with just a hint of green. Still subtle but a little more obvious. Finally I made some with a mix of white and a blue-purple. I was sure they would give a distinct colour contrast, but again it was quite random as to how the soap came out the bag. Still, I really like the more subtle colouring.
I loved this challenge and it is a technique I will definitely be doing again … and again … and again. Think I’ve found my soaping happy place!