Finding my inspiration through challenges

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In June I signed up for the Soap Challenge Club for a 3 month period. Each month the very talented Amy Warden of Great Cakes Soapworks sends out a soap challenge, complete with a video of her making her soap for this challenge. As a soaper, I am always looking for new ideas and inspiration so I thought this would be a great way to learn some new techniques and stay inspired. For the month of July I just sat back and watched. Partly because I wanted to see what everything looked like before I jumped in, and partly because I just couldn’t wrap my mind around the soap challenge theme of embracing opposites. Every idea my brain came up with seemed either overdone or too far out of the box. I was blown away by the entries with my favorite being a fire and ice type opposite with really cool swirls and striking colors.

So today I am submitting my first challenge soap! This month was about a new technique involving marbling and the mantra swirl. From the beginning I knew what colors I wanted for the marbling side of the soap, and I even knew what fragrance oils I wanted to use. What I couldn’t decide was if I wanted to use white or black as my solid color. My husband, being the brilliant minded man that he is, said, “well you won’t know until you see them both so just make them both”. Both? Immediately I began making a mental tally of the time it takes for setup, and clean up on two batches with multiple colors and I don’t even had two slab molds! However, he was right. I knew that I could not possibly decide until I saw both soaps.

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The first soap I made was with Black. I used one of my many Bramble Berry molds, the 9 Bar birchwood mold with silicone insert. The second soap was made with white as the solid. With no second slab mold I started looking around the house and found a USPS box that made a perfect slab mold size. I cut dividers from foam board (have I mentioned I LOVE the Dollar Tree?) with my new Exacto type knife since I do not have any divider sets.

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For my colors I used all Bramble Berry colorants: Electric BubbleGum for the pink, Tangerine Wow for orange, Fizzy Lemonade for yellow, Green Chrome Oxide for the green and Ultramarine Blue for the blue. For fragrance I used a blend that is super well behaved and perfect for swirling, Bramble Berry’s Kumquat and Champagne fragrance oils. Yes, Bramble Berry is by far my favorite supplier (and source of inspiration!).

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I chose to do the striped marble technique which involves making lines with a squeeze bottle before doing the mantra swirl (figure 8’s) down the solid/marbled line. I will eventually try the other two swirl options but for the challenge this is the style that I chose. I used a thick skewer to make the mantra swirls because I liked that way it dragged the marbled soap into the solid soap better than the thinner utensils used in the other swirls Amy had made.

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Unfortunately, the black soap was not ready to pull out of the silicone mold at the time I was ready to cut and take pictures. As it turned out though, when I looked at both soaps, the white was my favorite as it showed off each of the 5 colors better. So which one did you like best?

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Below was my soap entry this month.

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