Friday, November 16, 2012

Sweet Pumpkin Soap (With Pumpkin Puree and Goat's Milk)

Some pumpkins I spotted in Gatlinburg, TN
When autumn arrives, it seems like I've always got pumpkin on the brain. I want to bake pumpkin pie, pumpkin cake, pumpkin cookies. I want pumpkin bisque, pumpkin-scented lotions, pumpkin lip balm.

Pumpkin soap.

With the holidays approaching, I need some soap to gift. Everyone needs soap. Everyone loves soap. Not everyone loves pumpkin, but the good thing about soap is that you don't have to eat it. In fact, you definitely should not eat it. So, even if you don't like to eat pumpkin, you'll probably like pumpkin just fine in soap.

Hopefully, you'll like it better than fine. The natural sugars in pumpkin can help boost the lather, creating a luxurious bar. And if you also add something like goat's milk (which I did in this batch), the luxury factor goes into overdrive.

To make this soap, I used olive oil, coconut oil, sustainable palm oil, shea butter, and castor oil. For my liquid, I used part goat's milk (168g) - which I measured off and froze ahead of time - and part distilled water (121g). The original recipe called for 345g of liquid (for a full water amount), but you'll notice that my liquid adds up to 289g. Because I also added 56g of pumpkin puree, I subtracted that amount from my liquids. (I used the pumpkin puree at a rate of 1 ounce, or 28g, per pound of oils.)

I used canned pumpkin for my puree. (Make sure you read the ingredients label - you want 100% pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling, which has added spices and sugar.) Because I was using only 2 ounces total, I had some left over. Unless you're making a fifteen-pound batch (or using a lot more pumpkin than I did), you'll probably have some extra, too. You can freeze the leftover pumpkin for later. Or you can make Pumpkin Molasses Cookies, which is what I did.

Goat's milk is a wonderful additive in soap - it feels so creamy and the sugars in it also boost the lather. It's a good idea to freeze the goat's milk ahead of time and to soap cool so that the sugars in the milk don't scorch. I like to stir my lye solution in an ice bath to keep the temps low. The thing about goat's milk is that it can smell a little funky when the lye hits it. I've heard it described as an ammonia-type smell, but I think it sorta smells like goat cheese. Many folks find the smell unpleasant (I didn't mind too much since I absolutely adore goat's cheese), but not to worry - the smell disappears within a few days and shouldn't affect the scent of the final soap.


For the scent, I used a Sweet Pumpkin fragrance oil from Elements Bath and Body. This is my favorite pumpkin scent out of all of the pumpkin FOs I have tried so far. It is more sweet than spicy, which is why I like it so much. See, my nose is weird. I have a difficult time detecting spice notes like cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, etc. A lot of times I can't really smell pumpkin-scented candles. I once had a pumpkin and spice FO that I couldn't smell at all. Thinking that maybe the fragrance was defective, I had my friend sniff the bottle and he said, "What?! You can't smell that? It's so strong!" Funny thing is, my dad is kinda the same way. I dragged him into a Yankee Candle once and made him smell everything and he and I had trouble with a lot of the same scents. Genetics, I guess. DNA is weird wacky stuff.

Anyway, I really like this fragrance oil and everyone else seemed to like it, too, when I used it last year. The vanilla in the fragrance oil does discolor the soap, though, so it is necessary to plan accordingly. My soap went from a carrot-orange color to a dark but lovely brown.


Somewhere along the line, I saw this blog post by Amy from Great Cakes Soapworks. She uses a rubber stamp dipped in mica to embellish her soap bars. I loved this idea, and thought it was an easy way to add some pizzazz to my bars. Amy even made a YouTube video showing how she stamps the soap, and I used her method. (A big thank you to Amy for sharing her technique!) I didn't realize until I watched the video again that she and I had made very similar soaps. We both used pumpkin puree and goat's milk in our batches. When I went to make my pumpkin soap, I remembered that I had some goat's milk in the freezer and thought, Wouldn't that make this soap even nicer?

The soap about halfway through gel phase
Whether or not to gel soap is a personal choice. Lots of soapers choose to avoid gel phase so that the color remains lighter and the texture is a bit creamier. To avoid gel phase, pop the soap into the fridge or even the freezer (particularly if you're working with super-heater ingredients like milk, beer, honey, etc.). I decided to gel my soap because I like gelling my soaps. Plus, since the fragrance oil discolors the soap dark brown, I wasn't concerned about trying to keep the colors lighter.

I used my wooden log mold for this soap, and it turns out that I really didn't need to insulate this batch. With the combination of pumpkin puree, goat's milk, and the spice notes in the fragrance oil, the soap went into gel phase almost immediately. Fortunately, I was peeking at my soap and saw it going into gel phase, so I was able to take the top of the mold and the towels off before the soap overheated or cracked. (My textured tops kinda flopped, though.)

When it was time to cut the soap a couple of days later, I dipped my pumpkin stamp into some of Bramble Berry's Gold Sparkle Mica and then pressed it lightly but firmly into my fresh-cut soap. (It's important that the soap has been cut just before you do the stamping so that the mica will stick to it.)

I had some Goldilocks moments: The first try, I didn't use enough mica. The second try, I used too much. But the third try was juuuuuuust right. I discovered that it is best to get a bunch of mica onto the stamp and then tap the stamp against the countertop to get rid of the excess mica. After I cracked that code, stamping was much smoother and more uniform.

Here is a video showing how I made and stamped my Sweet Pumpkin soap:


How to clean the stamp when you're done? Get a toothbrush (new and unused, of course) and scrub the stamp under running water.

I bought a bunch of stamps. There was nothing I could do to stop this.
The stamping looks great, and I'm so glad to have a fun, easy way to adorn my soaps. I was so inspired, I raided the stamps in the dollar bin at my local craft store and bought a bunch. At that price, I couldn't afford not to! My Christmas soaps are made for this year, but next year I will have some cute holiday options!

Oh, and hey, don't forget - it's still November, so that means that it is Givember time at Bramble Berry! A few weeks ago, the lovely folks at Bramble Berry sent me some supplies to try (you can read more about that here) and offered a very special treat to my blog readers. Here's how it works: Any Bramble Berry order placed during the month of November that includes the code GIVEMBER50 will get you entered into a drawing for a $50 Bramble Berry gift certificate. This code only applies to orders placed during November - don't forget to include the code during checkout! Happy shopping, and best of luck to you all in the drawing!

Also, Thanksgiving is next Thursday and I want to wish all of you who are celebrating the holiday a very happy Thanksgiving!

22 comments:

  1. Jenny, those look great! I LOVE the stamp design. I'm going to pick some up next time I go to Hobby Lobby. Thanks for sharing. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Linda! I love how the stamping turned out, too. It's easy to get carried away when stamp shopping! Can't wait to see what you find at Hobby Lobby. :)

      Delete
  2. I think the sopa looks even better after the fragnance discolored it. I tought first that it was the pumpkin pure that gave that color.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kirppu! I really liked the orange color that the pumpkin gave the soap, too, but I like the dark brown just as well. And it makes the gold mica really pop, too!

      Delete
  3. Your soaps turned out really beautiful! The contrast between golden mica and soap color is really effective and lovely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the compliments, Moj sapun! I really like the gold mica against the dark brown, too.

      Delete
  4. Gorgeous, Jenny! This is a luxurious soap and I like the colour you got!
    And thanks for sharing the idea of using mica to give such embellishment to soaps, I love it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Natalia! I am hoping that this soap will be very luxurious with the pumpkin and the goat's milk. Stamping the soap is really fun, and it is a great way to dress up bars of soap!

      Delete
  5. I love the genuine pumpkin colour,but for some reason I've never gotten such a nice colour. First time,I might have put too little,ok,but the second time I surely put (more than) enough and after soap being cut, up to today (full cure period over) it is not that orange! Awkward!
    The colours of yours are both beautiful and the stamp mark gives it such a luxurious touch,that very well goes with the soap ingredients.
    I can't wait to see other stamps in action! I prefer these show flakes, I wonder if they will be sparkling white!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comments, Maja! I wonder if the orange color would have held up as the soap cured if I had not used a discoloring fragrance oil, but it was a very pretty orange when I cut it. I may have to try an unscented batch of pumpkin soap someday just to see. And I also really like how the stamping turned out, too. It's such a fun, easy way to jazz things up. The snowflake stamp caught my eye right away - I think using some blue or silver mica with that stamp would look so pretty!

      Delete
  6. Oh gosh, it turned out so nice Jenny...and I love the stamping you did! Great blog post as usual! =) I love anything pumpkin too, I don't know what it is about fall that makes us do that! Thanks for the heads-up about the fragrance, I find most pumpkins are too spicy, so I would love to give this one a try!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Cee Gee! The stamping is fun, and it allows for lots of creative possibilities. Autumn turns me into a pumpkin freak. Anything pumpkin, I'm there. I hope you like Element's Sweet Pumpkin FO if you give it a go!

      Delete
  7. beautiful, Jenny! I love pumpkin too..however, I never scented mine because I could never find a good pumpkin scent. I pureed a pumpkin once and loved the smell of it. Is that weird to like the smell of fresh pumpkin? :D I'm really loving the gold mica stamp design too...what a lovely touch!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Kalla! Thanks for your comments. I really like this particular pumpkin scent. And I don't think it's weird at all to like the smell of fresh pumpkin - I do, too! I may have to play with non-discoloring FOs or EOs or leave a batch of pumpkin soap unscented because I love the orange color of the soap. Thanks for the compliments on the stamping!

      Delete
  8. I went to Bath and Body last night hoping to find some of their Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin Body Lotion, but alas, a very friendly saleslady told me it was all gone for the season. Very happy to know that I can look forward to some of your Sweet Pumpkin soap for Christmas. I LOVE that fragrance! And your mica stamp is soooo pretty, too, Jer! Good work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Mom! Sorry to hear that BBW was all out of Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin lotion. That's one of my faves, too. Maybe you can still get some on the interwebs. I have an extra bottle of their Signature Collection Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin lotion that I can send you - maybe that will tide you over until these soaps cure! Thanks for the compliments on the stamping. I really love how that turned out, too.

      Delete
  9. Jenny,you are soooo creative! The pumpkin soaps look GREAT!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Adina Soaps! I am very happy with how these soaps turned out, too!

      Delete
  10. Jenny, your posts are so detailed, so instructional so...so...GOOD! I always learn something new from them. One day I might get brave enough to video tape some of my soaping but I'm a little afrid to. I never even videotaped my kids, and they are already jealous enough of the time I spent with my soap. Especailly the 32 year old

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww, thanks, Donna, for the kind words! I'm glad that you like the posts. I enjoy your blog as well! I would love to see some of your videos. I hope the kids won't be too jealous, though! Making videos is fun - they take a little extra time, but they're worth it.

      Delete
  11. They turned out so adorable! I really love the stamp, it works so well with this pumpkin soap. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Anne-Marie! I am very happy with the soap, too. I also love the stamp, and can't wait to try my other stamps using this technique!

      Delete

Spammy or inappropriate comments will be removed.