Tea time soaps
Well, I haven't posted since the week of Thanksgiving. You see, as Bob Cratchit would say apologetically, "We were making rather merry." And merry it was, with parties, family, wall-to-wall Christmas music and movies, food, company from afar, a successful deer season, blizzards, presents, cold snaps, and yet more food. My life also seemed be one long Christmas craft show with a show every weekend but one since Nov. 2.
But here I am--rested up, over a bout of cold/flu, readjusting to a somewhat normal schedule, with a soap cupboard that looks like Cindy Lou-Who's house on Christmas Eve. Perfect.
A cafe in a neighboring town, The Fuller House, recently began carrying some of my soaps in the adjoining gift store. Big glass jars of beautiful loose tea blends are one of the popular items. The owner suggested I incorporate some of her teas into soaps for the shop and gave me some tea blends to try out.
This is a black tea called Monk's Blend. It's gorgeous, like a potpourri. I used the tea as the liquid in the soap and kept the soap unscented.
And then there were two other teas, Gingerbread Orange and Apple Cider Spice with fruity, spicy, Christmas-y fragrances, which of course, wouldn't survive the soaping process. So I thought that I would come up with fragrances to complement each tea blend.
And for my third batch... This, kids, is what happens when you use a 40% lye concentration and then you forget you had. (I ask you--seriously--who DOES that?) It all comes back pretty quickly, however, when you find yourself glibly whirring away with the stick blender into a solid lump of soap. I mixed a blend of apple fragrance, with orange and clove oils that complemented the tea, which smelled like a mulled apple cider. This, with little flecks of rooibos tea, is the natural color. This one will obviously get a re-do before I take any to the store. Because it's a soap that only its soap mother could love, I'm using it in my bathroom now. The scent is absolutely lovely, but next time, I'll carefully strain all of the rooibos tea from the lye water. The pieces I purposely left in didn't soften through the soaping process and are akin to little slivers of wood. They're not so sharp that I have picked any out of my skin or anything, but they are exfoliating in most, scratchy, uncomfortable way.
I've never considered myself much of a whiz when it comes to scent blending, but this marks two successes in a row. Armed with pipettes, I fear that I'm going to be a scent-formulating fool from now on. And packaging them? I want them to be different and I'd like to emphasize that they are made to complement the loose teas, so here is what I came up with.
This is my first attempt, made with tissue paper. I'm experimenting with kraft paper, too, but it hasn't been so successful and I also have some more ideas that I want to play around with. I love the idea, but it will take some tweaking and playing to see what works the best and what will hold up the best in a retail setting. Any comments or suggestions for me?