Wedding season and happily ever after

So the wedding season is upon us with many a couple making the final preparations of the dress, shoes and those all important wedding party gifts. In recent years has been a growing trend of giving personalised soap and candles to your friends and family instead of the little voile bags containing sugared almonds which has been a long standing tradition.

The Anniversary Gift

So the honeymoon is over and the happy couple settle into life and all to quickly it is the first anniversary. My husband and I have been married a long time but as we approached our 1st anniversary we decided to choose gifts of a traditional nature. So with the first being a gift of Paper I received a book, the second year for Cotton it was a tea towel not so romantic but practical!

Collections of Soap, Wood & Wool

As the years have passed by we have exchanged many gifts and with little expense and a lot of thought these items have become treasured memories. So here are a few suggestions for you if you are looking for new ideas that will be sure to delight and remain traditional.

4th Year – how about some handmade soap? Rose & Vanilla with rose petals is a delight.

5th Year – how about a personalised pyrography plaque with a favourite quote or time and place   – handmade makes it extra special.

7th Year – A little needle felted wool heart – this could be on a brooch or a keying?

we would love to help you find the perfect gift but whatever you choose and however you celebrate your anniversary we offer our congratulations and best wishes.

 

 

Coming Soon -Logo’s & Labels

Coming Soon

So the month of May has been very busy here in the House of Wobbly Pins with some lots of discussions about logo’s & labels . We have been thinking about redesigning our labels for a while as the business has evolved and covers a myriad of crafts.

Classic or Quirky

A few cups of tea and maybe just a few gin & tonics have been consumed whilst doodling and exploring a new label design for our soap and candle range. Should we write a classic or should we be quirky or floral or moody?.

 

So many choices  are available when trying to decide on a design that reflects your ethos and will not become outdated in this fast moving world but also catch your customers eye when you are faced with so much choice.

We have considered spots, stripes, flowers, geometrics, squares, swirls, font style (important as we get older-I have difficulty reading a lot of labels), shades of purple, & yellow……..you get the picture.

The Logo & Label winner is?

So in the end we choose a classic theme, with a classic colour combination , with a font style that you can read without recruiting an interpreter. We have retained our hand doodled birds combined with a new brand to reflect our handmade soap made in small batches and our candle range.

When you are out and about watch out for our new brand labelling arriving in late June,  wrapped around our handmade soap and candles.

We hope you like it as much as we do.

 

 

Shall we Gel?

Shall we gel?

This is a question that each soap maker has a choice over. So what is the gel phase when making soap you ask and why do we get so excited or exercised by it?

Each batch of soap made with the same set of ingredients will have a slight difference in the appearance depending on the gel phase

Gel Phasing

I make cold processed soap and the gel phase is the reference to the saponification process when the soap gets to a certain temperature and becomes gelatinous, this can occur up to 170 degrees ( not a good idea to put your fingers in the soap at this stage to see if it really is hot!).

Gelling is a common occurrence when making soap. If I have gelled my soap then in the first few weeks of pouring the batch it will become quite hard as it evaporates the water. If I did not gel the soap it will take a little longer to harden and will also develop a slight translucent appearance.

In this age of appearance it is down to personal choice as to gel or not as it does not have any effect on the quality of the fully cured bar of soap.

How Do I Gel?

So if I want to gel my soap I insulate it soon after pouring, this entails placing it in a cardboard box and then covering it in some old towels and left in a warm draught free area for 24hrs. Now what do you class as a warm room I hear you ask? This is personal to you and the environment you live in – however too hot and the soap can ‘volcano’ or tunnel or just explode ( only happened once with some Honey & Oat soap) so watch your temperatures.

If I don’t want to gel my soap then I soap at colder temperature and then place the soap in the freezer or cold area immediately after pouring, I also leave it uncovered except for a top cover to prevent soda ash ( story for another day).

When to gel?

Up to a few months ago I have always preferred to gel with 2 exceptions.

If I am making Honey & Oat soap I do not gel – the sugars in the honey already add heat and I like the paler colour when it is not gelled.

I have also just started to make goats milk soap: gel phase and milk soap are not friends. Any type of milk soaps are best soaped cold (very cold), or else you run the risk of scorching the milk proteins and sugars. From  first hand experience this  results in a brownish soap that doesn’t smell great!

Also from personal experience I can confirm that it can result in a huge soapy fudge like mess as milk soaps are already prone to getting too hot. I was still able to use the goats milk soap it was just a darker colour thank I had aimed for.

So the question to gel or not is a bit like the marmite question – do you love it or hate it?

To gel or not to gel – that is the question.