|A few snapshots from our Boise trip|
But being busy didn't stop my husband and I from taking a break and visiting one of our favorite cities - Boise, Idaho. My first trip there was in 2008, and we've been back five times since. We love the downtown area, what with its myriad restaurants, pubs, shops, and events. We ate well (maybe a little too well, according to my scale), sampled some delicious Pacific Northwest beers (my favorite this trip was Sockeye's "Sprucin the Trail" ale, brewed with spruce tips), and visited the farmer's market and the Boise co-op. Boise State University also provided us with ample opportunities to get us some culture (goodness knows we need it) - we caught the symphony and an interpretive dance performance by the Idaho Dance Theatre. We dropped by Zoo Boise, where the meerkats in particular were hamming it up for the camera. The Idaho Steelheads were in town, so we caught a hockey game. (The Steelheads have never won when we are present. We are bad luck. But we did get to hang out with their mascot, Blue the bear!) And there was plenty of jogging to be done along the Boise River's Greenbelt. We try to go every autumn, and I am already looking forward to visiting again next year.
Say hello to "Yuletide Cheer," a holiday soap scented with a combo of Bramble Berry's Christmas Tree Cybilla and Elements Bath and Body's Rocky Mountain Christmas fragrance oils. (I had one ounce of the Christmas Tree FO and used another 0.6 oz. of the Rocky Mountain Christmas to make up the difference for two pounds of oils.) I love the droplet (or teardrop) effect, so I decided to make some green and gold swirls, since those colors make me think of Christmas trees. For the green, I used a hydrated chrome green pigment, mixed with some liquid glycerin to avoid clumping. For the gold, I chose gold sparkle mica. And I also added some titanium dioxide to the base to whiten it.
For this project, I wanted the soap at a thin trace so that the green and gold soap would penetrate the white layer and create pretty droplet swirls. It's important to choose a well-behaved recipe and fragrance oil for this technique.
After bringing the soap batter to a thin trace (I added the fragrance to the cooled oils before mixing in the lye solution), I portioned off 8 ounces each into two measuring cups. I colored one 8-ounce portion green and the other gold. Then I added the titanium dioxide to the remaining soap. I poured all of the white soap into the mold, and then poured the green soap from up high so that it would sink into the white layer. Then I did the same with the gold, drizzling it in a random pattern into the mold. A bit of green and gold soap was leftover in the measuring cups after pouring, so I used what was left to drizzle onto the tops. Then I used a spoon to swirl and push the soap on the very top layer around, giving it some interest and texture.
Here is a video I made showing the process and the cutting of this batch:
The droplet swirl is one of my favorite techniques because it creates such a beautiful effect. And no two bars are alike.
I've got one more holiday soap up my sleeve and I'll share it next time. (It's pepperminty!)
How are your holiday plans going? Got any fun trips planned over the next couple of months?