I went to my first formal dance at fourteen. It was only because our neighbor’s son couldn’t get find a date (at least that’s what his mother said). He was tall and skinny with carrot red hair and large feet. The cool guys wore Cons but for some reason Mark always wore shiny black shoes. I still see that first when I think of him. Mark was a “really nice guy”. We know what that means, he was a really nice guy and what fourteen year old opts for that choice first? I bought Mark a yellow carnation boutonniere to match my dress and for him to wear on his baby blue tuxedo. Yes, enjoy that picture in your head. Not knowing anything about storing “date” flowers I put the carnation in the freezer. So the guy who couldn’t get a date proudly wore that carnation, which, when thawed, looked like a squash. I have had a thing about carnations ever since and not in a good way.
With Valentine’s Day coming up (I am talking the cold process soaping calendar) and adding to the fact that I have had some samples of carnation fragrance oil (thanks, Brambleberry, darn it!), I decided to go for a carnation soap.
Here’s the recipe: as always I assume you know the joys and dangers of cold process soap making and will suit up and behave yourself.
Carnation Soap (2 lb. batch)
14 oz. Canola Oil
8 oz. Palm Oil
8 oz. Coconut Oil
2 oz. Shea Butter
3 Tablespoons Sunflower Oil
10.25 oz. Distilled Water
4.44 oz. Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
1 oz. Carnation Fragrance
Pink, Dark Red and Purple Brazilian Clays
Using two 8 cup measuring cups I measured the lye mixture (lye into water) into one glass container and sat it in a safe spot to cool. Mixing lye into water creates an instant 145 degrees and that is all I need to say.
The other container contained canola, palm, coconut and Shea butter melted together. While the two were getting closer in temperature to each other (romantic, right?) I took three plastic measuring cups and added 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil to each. Why sunflower oil? Because I had some on hand. I added 1 teaspoon of pink clay to the first container and 1/2 teaspoon of the red, then purple to the remaining containers whisking each light to dark. I added a 1/4 teaspoon of titanium dioxide to the pink because the clay did not look pink.
Here’s the rub to the above. I really want to use natural clays and dioxides. Maybe there is truly a pink one out there but I haven’t found it yet.
When the mixtures were within five degrees (around 120 degrees each) I added the lye to the water, blended, added the carnation scent, achieved a light trace and added about a cup of the trace to each color in the cups. I whisked those together.
I noticed that adding the carnation added a yellow to the oil mixture. I added a little titanium dioxide to the remaining uncolored trace to try to lighten it a bit but I am not sure that made a real difference. I worked here with a thicker trace with the intent to be able to “set” layers on each other. You will notice the thickness in the pour.
I tipped my mold at an angle, grabbed the nearest set of hands to take pictures (my husband who is Ed, not Mark) and poured the cream color trace into the mold at an angle. I then layered purple, red and pink in the open “V” area left by the tilted mold. When the mold was full, I used a chopstick to swirl the colored area and let the mold lay flat.
This is all done while Ed, who has never really watched the process asked questions and took pictures. I now realize that I can’t soap and talk at the same time. I also realize that I need to join a fitness center. The pictures are cropped so that you won’t go blind.
Now that the mold was flat, I pounded it slightly to remove any bubbles and to get out my frustrations of seeing myself in photos. I took the remaining uncolored trace which had significantly thickened after that whole ordeal and gently plopped it on top of the layers, using a spoon to create peaks and dusting it with gold mica.
I spritzed it with alcohol (considered taking a shot or two myself), tented the mold under a cardboard triangle to keep the insulating towel from ruining the top and walked away.
I ran into Mark a few years ago. He is a happily married family man. Good to know that squash carnation did not scar a nice guy for life!