Friday, January 3, 2014

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. 

I think that this tea is my favorite of the three.  I combined orange 5x essential oil and ginger fragrance oil and topped it with some of the loose tea.  I added a bit of paprika for color.

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?  

10 comments:

  1. Congrats on getting your soaps into the local shops, Amy! The Monk's Blend and Gingerbread Orange look and sound wonderful! I've thought about using tea as my liquid but haven't tried it yet. I should give it a go someday. Sorry about the batch that accelerated, but it still sounds like lovely soap! The teabag packaging is so cute, too - what a great idea!

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    1. Thanks, Jenny! It was totally my fault that the batch accelerated. But I found out that the scent is amazing, so it wasn't a total loss--especially when I get to enjoy it all myself!

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  2. Happy New Year Amy! I love these tea soaps, what a wonderful idea, the scent blends sound amazing, and I LOVE your tea packaging!

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    1. Thanks and happy new year to you, too, Cee! I'm really excited to nail down the tea bag packaging; I love it, too.

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  3. I love using tea as an ingredient in soap! Sorry to hear about the 3rd batch seizing, but otherwise, they all sound amazing! I am particularly drawn to the Gingerbread Orange. I think the tea bag packaging is very cute and creative! :-)

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    1. I'm just getting started on my tea soaps--this is so much fun! Gingerbread Orange was my favorite from this round, too...too bad you can't smell it from there! ;)

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  4. Constant Comment is another tea that is fun in soaping!

    Have you tried wax paper type for your packaging. A bit transparent might look nice.

    Love your soaps Amy! The scents sound fab!

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    1. Thanks, Pam! I'll have to try that tea once I've worked my way through my overflowing tea cupboard. Yes, I've been thinking about something on the wax/transparent side, too; it would be nice for the fancier soaps.

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  5. Hi Amy! The packaging is adorable. I would just worry about it being sturdy enough to sit on shelves in the store for wholesale purposes.
    Your soaps are beautiful by the way! =)

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    1. Thanks, Anne-Marie. Yes, that's my exact concern. The tissue paper helped me get the look that I want, so now I have to figure out the right material for it.

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