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Unpredictable but pretty

There are many methods for making soap and we have played with almost all of them at this point in our soap life. If you’ve ever considered making soap or listened to a soaper geek out, you’ve probably heard of at least one or two ways we cook. Hot process, cold process, melt and pour, castile, room temp, pioneer, polished or natural, vegan, cruelty free, silk infused, organic, traditional, the list of possibilities goes on and on. Some people will only play with cold processed soaps, others preferring to avoid lye use melt and pour bases, and there are those who literally swoon over the rustic look of hot process soaps. (Yes, we’ve really seen that happen in the booth.) We here have our personal preferences too but have always made it a rule that we will do whatever we can to make someone’s soapy idea come to life. One of the benefits of this rule is that we get to experiment on a regular basis and embrace the variety of results we get. This time we’re looking at hot process soaps and occasionally unpredictable visual effects.

Freshly cut hot process St Arnold beer soap

Hot process soaps are on our “instant gratification” list of soap making. (Hot process simply means heat is applied to the soap base after the lye has been incorporated. It is also used in rebatching soaps.) It can be made and completely cleaned up after in one day, results are useable as soon as they’re cool enough to touch, and it doesn’t seem to burn off essential oils as much in our experience. As a bonus, you get great unique looks with hot process soaps. This picture is from a log we finished last week in a tall mold. The rough, rustic look to the exterior is very common to a hot process log but it’s the interior that made Dorothy smile.

Oversized bar of St Arnold hot process soap and side view of log

The swirls and loops that you see in this picture were not entirely created by our hands. We took a completed but off-sized log of our St Arnold soap, chopped it up, added a bit more of a new base, and cooked it up together. The St. Arnold recipe we use can behave a bit unpredictably at times when we cook it this way so we never seem to get any two batches that look exactly the same when we cut them open. It will pour almost like a thick cold process batter or it may seize up and have to be forced into the mold. Cooking time variances of about ten minutes will give us some fun effects too. It can something as simple as the change of humidity in the soap room on the day we made it that will make a change in the appearance. Sometimes, like the picture below, we even manage to get some wide variety of swirling width within the same batch of soap or individual bar. It’s unpredictable but can be very pretty in the end.

Closer view of rustic looking top and crazy swirled pattern

The glassy smooth exterior of this batch reminds us of obsidian in some of the Hawaiian pictures. The interior colors will darken a bit more before these guys will be ready to go home with anyone but it should still keep the similar look of varying browns. The guys in the soap room say it reminds them of a stone or petrified wood. What do you think of the pattern? We’ll keep debating it here until they go into the booth in October. You’ll be able to find them for sale on the website with the other beer soaps.

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Working in the background

I am lurking on the website this week as promised. It’s still frustrating to me how well I can mess up loading pictures to the site so that is high on the list to fix this week in addition to getting back into the swing of our blog after my absence. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get all of these pictures I’m staring at out where you can enjoy too! Cross fingers for me and it’s ok to laugh at me breaking this site- I laugh the hardest sometimes. Luckily, I don’t plan to try to make a living by computer work 🙂 Although I might totally rock at computer & website demolition, actually……

Across the street from our booth at Houston Beer Festival, June 8, 2013. Awesome time with you guys!
Across the street from our booth at Houston Beer Festival, June 8, 2013. Awesome time with you guys!

As mentioned before, we were at the Houston Beer Festival this past weekend. We had a blast and met a ton of great people. Always enjoy getting out there with you guys, Houston, and this was a great time! I must send a shout out to Maximus, one of our local bands, for some great music too. You made even this pathetic dancer start moving and grooving with those songs! Keep it up boys! Here are the only two shots hubby managed to get of the festival for us. The white tent you can barely see with the Beer Soap sign (thanks again Bob!) is ours and the second picture is from the back of the tent looking out. Angie’s Bits o’Glass is there on the left and my pasty white legs are on our side to the right in this picture. (Angie, forgive me for posting your butt online without warning lol) It was a very busy but fun day for us. We thank you again everyone for such a great time. And some new jokes for me- hooray!
Looking out towards crowd from behind the booth at Houston Beer Festival, June 8, 2013. Lots of fun!
Looking out towards crowd from behind the booth at Houston Beer Festival, June 8, 2013. Lots of fun!

I must now go back to my behind the scenes work and try to load pictures around soaping sessions. This week I’m making more of our Texas Suds Beer Soaps, another round of plain pioneer soap, and some of the Honeysuckle too. I’m plotting the Ginger Peach bars but pushed them back a few days so I could make sure I can get the colors I’m shooting for. More details later and I hope these pictures cooperate with me. See you around the website!

Happy Washing!

Dorothy

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Houston Beer Festival was a blast!

Yesterday we spent the day in downtown Houston for the 3rd annual Houston Beer Festival. It was a complete blast! Hubby and I would like to say thank you again to all of you who stopped by and hung out with us there. We really had a great time talking with you all about both soap and beer 🙂 I will start cutting the remaining soap log of Texas Suds made with the Rodeo Clown beer as promised tomorrow morning so that everyone can get their reserved bars. More updates to come to the blog this week as I play catch up here on the website finally but today’s post shall be short, I’m afraid. I promised to take some time off today and spend it with the family (and recuperate- I’m tired lol) so I must sign out now. To our family, friends, and associates who have supported us during our personal losses these last few months, I thank you again also. We are getting back to normal and greatly appreciate your support.

Happy Washing!
Dorothy & the Team