I must say I have been mopping around, still not being able to move past my two failed "Gardenia Soap Batches". I have been plotting and planning for the next time I try it out...so to prep I decided to try a different floral fragrance oil.
Floral fragrance oils are tricky to work with. They can accelerate how fast your soap mixture starts setting. You definitely see it happening right away. The soap starts to settle pretty quick and if you don't work fast it can really set up on you in your mixing bowl. That's what happened to me with Gardenia. It went hard! very fast! I could not even get my stick blender to tame it and soften it somewhat. It was heartbreaking :o(
But I have decided to train...and train...for my next battle with Gardenia. In comes my new training partner "Eden's Garden". A white floral fragrance oil with notes Lily, Narcissus...and... you guessed it...Gardenia :o). Yes...I enjoy to beat myself up apparently. BUT that's not the end of it, I also decided to try Coconut Milk! YES- I need help ;o)
Working with milk in cold process soap making is also a challenge. You have to freeze your milk so that when you add your Lye to it the chemical reaction and the heat that it produces does not burn your milk, making it a dark color instead of a creamy one. You also have to be extra careful to make sure all of your lye has completely dissolved and since it's a white mixture instead of clear water you have to careful stir, stir, stir AND check the temperature.
So I gathered and weighed all my supplies (the Coconut Milk I had weighed earlier in the day and poured it in ice cube trays to freeze in the freezer). I carefully mixed the lye into the milk and little by little watched it melt and dissolved completely into the milk. So far so good. No parched milk and even though there was a faint smell of ammonia, which is common when you are working with lye and milk (but don't worry it will go away as the soap cures), I was getting pretty excited!
This time around I decided to add my fragrance oil to the warmed oils instead of at light traced. I have read from some seasoned soapers that doing this can help to prevent your soap from setting too quickly. I braced myself and added my Lye to the oils (So far so good ). I separated the soap mixed into three separate containers. The main soap mixed I colored white with titanium dioxide, and the other two small mixtures with green and black oxides.
I worked quickly since I noticed that it was starting to thicken up, and for a minute there I almost thought it was going to go really hard on me. But it gave me enough time to do some color mixing on the top and I must say I am pretty happy with the results.
So far the white is still holding up. I need to be a little more patient when it comes to un-molding my milk soaps. Since I stick them in the freezer to prevent gel phase and to keep the creamy colors, you usually have to wait a couple of days longer than usual to un-mold since it will be pretty soft. Mine was not ready completely...it was still a little soft. Some of the edges got a little squished when I cut it.
It's my learning process. I think I just maybe be getting closer to a new "Gardenia" match :o)