My choice of recipe is from the natural colors section and contains Alkanet Root for the color, and Sweet Fennel essential oil for the scent.
I was delivered a kit containing everything I needed to make this batch. I couldn't wait to get started, but of course I have to over think and plan...and plan some more....so how to do the soap? There are 2 ways to use the Alkanet Root, either straight in the batch for a speckled look, or infuse the herb into the oil for a smooth non speckled appearance. Decisions decisions....what to do....
I decided to go ahead and get my infusion started as I began to plan my design. First step is that I sealed 2 TBL of the herb into a heat and seal tea bag to infuse into 4 ounces of olive oil. (The book calls for sweet almond oil, but I have never used that so I kept with one of my two fave infusing oils...my other fave is jojoba oil)
I simmered this in my double boiler for 2 hours.
Look how beautiful the color is...sadly I soon find out this does not last.
Now I am ready to begin...and I have my design worked out in my head...lets hope I can make it work. Since I cant choose if I should use the herb either infused or straight...I decide to just be wild and try both methods at the same time...since I am fresh off the mantra swirl challenge I use that as my guide and do a modified modified mantra swirl...instead of columns I decide I am going to layer it.
I brought my soap to a light trace and divided the batch up and added the infused oil to half of the batch...it turned grey. :(
Then I added a thin layer of uncolored soap batter...
Next I add the herb straight to the last part of the soap...it starts off as such a pretty reddish purple...
You can see in the bowl the pretty reddish color, and then on the measuring spoon the difference in color when mixed with the soap batter.
I added the speckled layer and took my handy dandy high tech tool here and inserted it into the batch bringing it up and down while moving across the log.
I took some remaining infused batter and swirled it on top of the speckled batter, here it gives you a sneak peek at the difference of the color range the herb gives in the two methods...
...and here is the end result.
I am so happy with how this came out!!!
(that rarely happens)
Even though I was going for a technical angle to compare the 2 methods, I love that I was also able to incorporate a creative design.
There is a huge difference in looks between the 2 methods, and I don't know which I like better, they both offer a beautiful look to your soap.
I really enjoyed this challenge and I want to thank Alee for contacting me to join, and also a big thank you to Anne-Marie for writing a great recipe in her new book. I can't wait to try more from the book.
What do you think?