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Inverted Stamp for Dark Forest Soap

September 7, 2016

My brother and I started Magellan’s Gift™ Micro Soap Company long before the average person had personal computers.  We were self taught through real books and our mistakes.  The batches were hand stirred and large – requiring both of us to create our craft.

Today, so much has changed with access to the internet.  Soap makers chat globally sharing techniques freely.  Sound practice is reinforced; archaic folklore is put aside.  Beautiful soaps that truly are art are painstakingly created in many steps and are really priceless. Contests are held and winners announced!  From hobbyist to larger handcrafted soap companies, there has never been a better time to be creative with soap.

Magellan’s Gift™ strives to have bars that are about function, using great ingredients that are good for the skin. The soaps do need to catch your eye, but making tiny little batches where 8 bars takes a whole day to produce isn’t going to work – even for a Micro Soap Company.  The majority of Magellan’s Gift™ soaps are sold at a wonderful busy farmers market year round and online at which means every week, soap is made and every week soap needs to be cured and ready to sell.  When I learned of Clara Lindberg’s blog detailing the how to’s of using wire to create an inverted stamp, it was love at first sight.  And was very possible with my 30-bar molds (which are still considered small), but at up to 6 batches a day – helpful.

I admit my stamps are a bit rustic and I’m still very much playing around with the idea.  The plus of the technique is that inverted stamping works fine with my 30-bar mold – if I work quickly.  To read more about this style of creating a raised pattern on soap go to Clara Lindberg’s Blog on Inverted Stamps

More stamps are in the works for inverted images.

Dark Forest – a handcrafted soap scented with fir needle, spruce and a dash of vetiver.  The design was created by dipping a handmade tool into the soap at just the right time to create an inverted stamp.


fir needle tool

A crude quickly made tool made with Sucru ( a new moldable glue), but could easily made with polymer clay at less cost.

Dark Forest 8-16b

Dark Forest Soap in a divider slab mold

Lori Curry ~ Magellan’s Gift™ Adventure & Discovery in Fine Soap

Handcrafted Soap ~ Dangerous Waters!

August 15, 2016
Handcrafted Soap - Dangerous Waters

A swirled handcrafted soap made by Magellan’s Gift™

Sometimes life is like steering a wooden ship through dangerous waters. Don’t be so absorbed with survival that you miss the sparkle of sunlight on waves, the caress of the wind in your hair, and the exhilaration of being inside an adventure. Otherwise, living is just postponing the inevitable.

Dangerous Waters is a swirled soap with veins of finely ground vanilla specks for a mild scrubby effect.  The scent is created with cedar, five origin sandalwood, cardamom and ylang ylang essential oils.

Look for this finely crafted soap online and at the Harrisonburg, VA Farmers Market starting Aug 20, 2016

Lori Curry

Magellan’s Gift™ ~ Adventure & Discovery in Fine Soap!


Natural Scum Buster!

June 19, 2016

I wrote this many years ago, but I’ve had several request to post this again!

Real soap is almost manna from heaven, but like all good things there is a downside.   Well, that is unless you have soft water.  I tell myself that I am so lucky that I have such hard water–after all, it is important to test soap in the worst of conditions!

My scum & germ busters

Soap scum is from the minerals in water reacting with soap.  This is (sadly) one of the reasons detergents became so popular.  My skin prefers real soap;   my lack of time for cleaning admires detergents.    I think I’ve found the solution and I been testing this for over a month now and I’m pretty pleased.  I work very long days and nights and  keeping up with the housework is a major challenge for me.

My shower is a 1970’s plastic job with swan embossed glass doors and a nasty track that produces grunge that someday may grow a life saving  new drug, but mostly likely not!  When I bought the house I swore it would the be the first of many remodeling  jobs.  It still greets me every morning!

My 1970 Swan Shower Door

First, a disclaimer;  I have only tried this on my shower bath made of cheap plastic.  You will need to research whether this is a good idea for your type of stall.  Ask your manufacturer or someone more  knowledgable then me.

So you need to start with a clean surface!  I bought two pretty  spray bottles from my local Lowes.  Peroxide does best in a solid or dark colored bottle .   Fill one with the cheapest white vinegar you can buy.  Fill the other with 3% peroxide  (which you can buy at the grocery store.)  Do not pre-mix! 

After I shower, I mist the stall with one after the other,  it doesn’t matter the order.  That is it.  Somehow it works as a preventative.  It also kills all sorts of bacteria.   You will need to clean again, but you will go much longer between cleanings.   It also works great on the toilet.  Once a day when the toilet is flushed before it fills back up, lift the seat and mist all around, including the seat and hope no one sits on it before it dries.  Wiping the seat would be polite, but it works without doing that either too.

Go to the link below, this is what inspired me to try this in the bath.  I’ve been using it for years in the kitchen.

The latest of my five sandalwood soap!

So even I can make cleaning an adventure with discovery too!

Lori Curry ~ Magellan’s Gift™ ~  Adventure & Discovery in Fine Soap!

Highly Crafted Ale Soap!

June 13, 2016


Magellan’s Gift™ Sudsy Cargo is a highly crafted ale soap and a salute to all the local brewers of Harrisonburg, VA.  The small college town of Harrisonburg is located in the Shenandoah Valley and is home to quite a few small craft breweries – many  in walking distance to each other.  They often collaborate on sudsy delights.

This current batch was made with locally crafted IPA.  A whole six pack was used, one for sampling and five for the soap.  This wonderfully aromatic ale was cooked down to concentrate and remove the alcohol and the carbonation.  Alcohol and carbonation are not friends to the soap making process.  The natural sugars and hop extract that were left were a very welcome addition as they add conditioning bubbles to the soap. In the end, I found the results made me very hoppy, oops, I mean happy, indeed.

Magellan's Gift™ highly crafted ale soap

Sudsy Cargo Soap is  made with locally crafted Indian Pale Ale.  The scented is created with the essential oils of Himalayan cedar, bergamot, juniper berry, coriander and a hint of vetiver that complements the hoppy scent of a citrus-woodsy  ale. #beersoap #alesoap

Tall IPA Beer A The tall skinny shape is created by pouring in to a deep slab mold. Actually, two separate batches were made – one with beer and the other was plain – creating the “foamy ale head”.  A line of pure chocolate cocoa is used to the separate the layers.

Tall IPA Beer B The mold is removed and cut into logs with a splitter. Tall IPA Beer C The logs are then cut into bars.Tall IPA Beer E Top view of a multi-bar cutter that uses wire for perfectly cut bars!Tall IPA Beer FThe bars are moved back to a dedicated room with a fan to assist in curing for at least four weeks.  The soap becomes harder, longer lasting, milder and with more lather.

Sudsy Cargo Soap is a limited edition.  You can read more about what IPA and its history at:

Yours truly, wishing you a sudsy summer!

Lori Curry ~ Magellan’s Gift ~ Adventure & Discovery in Fine Soap!

The Muse

June 9, 2016
Magellan's Gift Handcrafted Soap - The Muse - Patchouli, Spearmint and a dash of Clove Peppermint,

Magellan’s Gift Handcrafted Soap – The Muse is scented with patchouli, peppermint, spearmint and a dash of clove essential Oils.  The soap is enhanced with activated bamboo charcoal. The design is created by pouring soap on a gold primed impression mat.

For this version of The Muse Soap, I’ve added activated charcoal and kept the scent the same.  The charcoal gives it a little texture for a mild scrubby effect. Charcoal is supposed to be detoxing and  is often found in soap.  I know of no way to prove this claim, so I will let you decide. This soap has superior cleansing properties without leaving your skin dry. The bonus is the pleasant scent it leaves on your skin.

All for Adventure & Discovery in Fine Soap!

Lori Curry – Magellan’s Gift™

Hand Soap For The Glove Hating Gardener

April 25, 2016

Handcrafted Gardener's Soap for Glove Haters

Handcrafted gardener’s soap for glove haters!

The Glove Hating Gardener’s Soap has finally arrived!

This fine handcrafted soap is based on the winter testing trials. This is done annually, where a new project is picked and perfected with your help.

Samples are given out starting late February at the Harrisonburg, VA Farmers Market and with online orders at .

The small batches are staggered to allow feedback.  Questions were asked, like: is it too coarse? Too soft? Is it moisturizing? Is it able to clean really dirty hands? But what was interesting . . . was how many people said they need a soap like this because they hated gloves.

The final result is a scrubby bar of soap designed for the hands. It is good for the chef, as well as the cook, mechanic, farmer or gardener.

It is enhanced with avocado oil and sea clay, scented with lemongrass, ginger and rose geranium essential oils.  A special blend of corn meal, orange peel powder, parley powder, apricot grounds and pumice turns your rough dirty hands into clean hands that smell fresh and are soft.

Available starting April 30, 2016

May warm bubbles surround your hands!

Lori Curry ~ Magellan’s Gift™ ~ Adventure & Discovery in Fine Soap!

A Soap Maker’s Kitchen – Once upon a time – it was normal.

January 20, 2016

Once upon a time, I bought a small brick ranch house built in the late 60’s for my home. I had no idea what the future would bring.  Most likely, my home will never be featured in a classy decorating magazine or win awards for design. Some women my age are remodeling kitchens with granite counter tops, I lust after stainless carts with wheels.

soap kitchen 123 l

My dining room table is gone, replaced with rolling stainless tables. Baby quilts used to insulate soap are stored in large baskets. Coconut oil is easily handled on re-purposed rolling stools. A new shelf has been added for my distillation equipment that I use for distilling rose geraniums.

soap kitchen 123 e

The chalk board captures my thoughts for the year as well as weekly goals. The tall rolling cart holds clean molds all covered and ready to use.

soap kitchen 123

I have three tables with heating mats. I like these for two reasons:  the night before production day, I measure  the ingredients into plastic buckets. The mats gently melt the solid oils like shea butter and coconut oil into liquid. I use blankets to help insulate the buckets. In the morning, I’m ready to go. The second reason, is after the soap is poured into the molds, I can quick start the reaction that makes the ingredients turn into soap.  The molds are insulated with baby quilts on the mats. The benefit is the soap can be removed from the mold much sooner.  On the right is a shelf for holding stainless steel pots for mixing lye.  Inside is a Pyrex cup for mixing essential oils.  They are covered to stay clean.  I will add one more shelf for other equipment soon.

soap kitchen 123b

This photo shows coconut oil in buckets with the needed tools to open and close them.  Next to the hutch is a whole room HEPA filter  that helps (somewhat) when working with strong essential oils.  To the far left is a tall rolling cart that holds cubes of mostly olive oil and bottles of lye.  The upside down buckets are containers that I like to use for creating the soap.  They are made of HDPE which handles the reaction of soap making very well and yet are very light weight.  My beloved pine hutch was made in the 1800’s and will stay. The combs located on the shelves are used for creating designs in my soap.


soap kitchen 123 i

I use a lot of cloths to reduce the use of paper towels. These are washed separately from my personal laundry.

soap kitchen 123 f

Drips are caught with a stainless steel bucket and the spout is kept covered.

soap kitchen 123 g

Soap is beveled here. I injured my wrist and could only use one hand, so this was my solution and it really helps!

soap kitchen 123 h

I have several of these carts.  This one has equipment to cut logs and bars of soap.  The bottom has spare equipment. I use carts to move the soap back and forth to the soap curing room.  They really save my back.

The future may bring a lye tank for storing lye solution and another tank for a master batching of soap, drums of oils instead of 50 lb buckets.  I currently could easy use them up before spoiling.  As I grow, my thoughts will no doubt change.   Right now, I’m in a happy place, and I never wanted to be normal anyway.

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