Given that I shared about color morphing yesterday, something that may cause failure in the soap kitchen, I thought I would continue on to share my most recent failures. Well, maybe not complete failures, but certainly batches that did not do what I intended, making them failures in my mind. Believe me, there is not a Soaper alive who has made perfect batches of soap each and every time. If anyone says differently, they are being less than honest. I have been at this for many years now, and while I certainly have had fewer botches than many, if not most, there are still batches that just don't come out the way you envisioned, or the way you know they should have. Somehow or another, even when you are making the same recipe, the same way, with the same scent you have used a million times before, something happens......and you get a completely different result than you did the other 999 times that you made it. But it happens, and when it does it generally leaves us all scratching our heads, and asking other Soapers what we possibly could have done wrong. After much discussion and dissection, inevitably the answer always ends up the same......it must have been the gremlins!
For example, this past week I made four batches of soap. All with the same recipe. I use natural colorants, so I have used all of them before. Now the fragrances were different, and I do mix my own blends, but again, this is something I do all the time, so I am used to the differences this can cause. So anyway, with the first batch I wanted to test out some natural blues and purples. Problem was, I added a white into the batch in order to make the colors pop better. The problem with that was that this white made the batch trace fast. That is to say, it got very thick, very fast, as in Superman flying to rescue Lois Lane fast! I barely had time to stir it properly, let alone to add a color or two. While I did manage to beat some color into it, I certainly couldn't get any where near what I had intended. And, of course it also meant that I ended up with (some) air holes, even after banging the mold on the counter many times. For those who are not soap makers, in a perfect batch the batter will fill the mold nicely and evenly, with one bang in the end you ensure against air holes.
Now, I did say that I didn't consider my so called failures to be complete failures. And that is true, even with this batch and its few air holes. It is okay in the pretty department, but what it lacks there, it makes up for in the scent department! I created a new blend that I had intended to name Karma, but am now unsure if that will be the name or not. It smells rather fresh, with a hint of sweetness, and dash of vanilla and spice. Yumm is all I can say about it!
Skip ahead a few batches, and we will be at my second failure of the week (by the way, I hadn't had a failure in almost a year until this week!). Again, I wanted to go with the natural blues and purples, and again I messed it up somehow. This time I wanted to do a "gradation". This is where you start out either light or dark, and with each layer you move in the opposite direction. So if you begin light, you get darker each layer, or if you begin darker, you get lighter each layer. In this aspect, I completely failed with this batch. I failed to make enough coloring, so I was hurriedly, doing it on the fly, as I fought to get it done before the batter got too thick (like the other batch). Consequently, I ended up with only three descent layers and one, too thin, top layer. And all but the very top ended up being so dark, that there is only a minor distinction between layers. While I can see the layers in person, they are very hard to pick out in a picture, and I expect that, as they cure, they will darken even more, loosing what little distinction they currently have. Yet again though, the scent is this soaps saving grace. In fact, I think it is quite heavenly. I mixed Amber with some fruits, black pepper, and a few unexpected fragrances for this one. It ends up with fruity top notes, an interesting, spicy middle note, and that beautiful, sultry, Amber bottom note. It is not heavy at all though. In fact, it smells rather light and bright, with an afterthought of spice. I am going to call this one Amber Nights. So, while the soap is not at all what I intended color wise, my newest scent blend is awesome!
Oh how I hate it when the plan doesn't come together! So now I have to decide if I sell these soaps on an oops table, give them away to friends and family, or just sell them like they were meant to be what they are. I mean, I have seen many average looking soaps being sold, so these could be what someone intended to make. Lol