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Dark Forest Scented Handcrafted Soap!

November 5, 2015
Dark Forest scented handcrafted soap!

Magellan’s Gift™ presents – Dark Forest scented handcrafted soap!

“Deep in the forest gypsies chorus by the light of the fire” – this is a fragment of an old campfire song of my childhood. The scent takes me back to camping and hiking memories.

Magellan’s Gift™ Dark Forest Soap is scented with essential oils of Siberian fir needle, black spruce, fir balsam and a touch of vetiver. The essential oil distilled from the roots of vetiver makes the scent darker and a little smokey. Finely ground vanilla bean has been added for a get-clean scrubby effect. If you love hiking, camping like a gypsy or just love the thought of exploring dark forests – this is the bar of soap for you!

Available starting November 7 online and at the Harrisonburg, VA Farmers Market!

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

Honest, winter is coming!

Magellan’s Gift™ Handcrafted Soap – Dry Mica Priming of Impression Mats

October 3, 2015
unscented 014dfbetter

This is mostly a pictorial about how Magellan’s Gift™ Micro Soap Company uses dry mica to prime impression mats.  This is just a peek for both my customers and soap-makers who follow my blog.  I will try to keep it simple and not bog you down with soap-making language since my following is about 50/50.  One of the questions my customers often ask: what is Mica?  In soap-making the term mica means cosmetic mica. It is skin safe and is often lip and eye safe as well.

 

unscented impression mat 004a

Impression mats for fondant cake icing work perfectly for creating  patterns on soap. These mat are generally used to make fancy cake icing where a special thick icing is rolled onto the mat to create a pattern.  It then is applied to the cake. The mats can be purchased online and at craft stores. This mat is from http://www.nycake.com.  I work with 30 bar HDPE divider slab molds; most mats are too small for my molds. Another consideration is the size of pattern. Fondant impression mat are made from food grade silicone which is a plus too. In this picture, I’ve primed the mat with mica, using a dedicated make up sponge.  I’ve tried to apply this as lightly possible, so that only the raised surface has color.  

unscented impression mat 009a

The dry mica primed mat is placed in the bottom of the mold.

unscented impression mat 012a

The soap is made and poured just before what soap makers call “trace.” I want it thin, so the soap stays flat. Amazingly, pouring doesn’t disrupt the design on the mold. My first attempt was painting the mat with mica mixed with oil.  Pouring the soap did cause the design to migrate. Very sad!

unscented impression mat 014a

The dividers are placed. Next the mold is covered with wrap and insulated with blankets. This batch also needed a little extra heat, so it was placed on a heating mat to help bump it into becoming hard soap more quickly. Some soap-makers will boost their soap by placing it in the oven on 150 degrees for a time. It is important for your soap to be firm.

unscented impression mat 019a

After one to several days have pasted  (dependent on factors: like hardness of the recipe, heat both natural and produced and even the weather) the bottom of the mold is removed and the mat is peeled back. I then allow it to rest a few hours and then push the soap bars out with a pusher – shown later.

muse dry brush mica 001mnee

Here is a primed mat for Magellan’s Gift™ The Muse Soap; this is done with many colors of mica. The mica is  worked in very fast with a stiff brush. You don’t want extra, just enough to add a layer of color. There isn’t a need to really stay in the lines. The mats can be primed in advance. The only downside is some of the really bright colors do cling to the mat, which makes clean up time consuming, if you want to use it again without color. This mat is dedicated to making The Muse soap, so any that clings isn’t a problem.

Muse dry brush impression mat 001b

Here is a great picture of the pusher that helps push the bars out of the mold! The mold, pusher and a cam (not shown, it helps remove the bottom of the mold) are made by Rich Bartko of SoapHutch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Only 3 more markets to buy soap! I'm taking a break, but will be back in October. Online sales will continue, but there will be a week delay on shipping mid September. I will be back in action with lots of soap and a few new surprises!

So, why not just paint mica on the surface of the already made bars of soap?  The advantage of this method is pouring the raw soap on top of the dry mica causes it to bind with the soap and does not rub off on your fingers. Of course the design will wash off with the first use of the bar. This also is great for the common problem of soda ash that some recipes produce on top of the bars.  Your design is on the bottom!   Mica when mixed with cold process soap losses its sparkle, you keep most of the sparkle with this method. The next blog will be on creating an impression mat with a 3D printer.   Hope your life is filled with warm bubbles!  

Taking a Break – Good stuff to come!

August 30, 2015
Only 3 more markets to buy soap! I'm taking a break, but will be back in October. Online sales will continue, but there will be a week delay on shipping mid September. I will be back in action with lots of soap and a few new surprises!

Dry brush technique for cold process soap – just playing with mica combinations on scrap.

Only 3 more markets to buy soap! Look for Magellan’s Gift™ soaps at Harrisonburg Farmers Market next Tuesday, 9/1, Saturday 9/5 and Tuesday 9/8. I’m taking a break for surgery, but will be back in October. Online sales will continue, but there will be a week delay on shipping mid September. I will be back in action with lots of soap and a few new surprises!  I will post several blogs while I recover on the use of impression mats and 3D printing of little mats for soap impressions.

Wish Away Bubbles™ = Adult Stress Relief!

July 10, 2015
Wish away bubbles 009a

Wish Away Bubbles™ by Magellan’s Gift™

New Product!

Wish Away Bubbles™ are now available at the Harrisonburg, VA Farmers Market!  Online sales coming soon. The bubbles are a secret recipe made with Eco dish soap and the wands are from my crazy muse who makes me do these things. Many years ago, I was at a seminar for building confidence.  The speaker suggested visualizing a bubble and picturing your fear inside the bubble and then: pop it!

Well, being a soap maker, I had to try my hand at making bubbles. Real soap is great for the skin; detergent is better for bubbles. Eco dish detergent, that has no phosphates and biodegrades, was my choice for the project, but that alone won’t make great bubbles. Here’s where a little chemistry helps and after a few mistakes and some comparing of recipes, I got it. A Eureka moment!

The wands needed to be fanciful and fun. These aren’t for little kids, if you are worried about getting old, these are guaranteed to prevent maturity! Notice, I didn’t say blowing bubbles will keep you from getting old . . .

OK, dip the wand (shell) into the solution and blow gently and visualize your worst fear.  Bubbles will form through the shell, sometimes quite a few, if you have lots of problems.  When the bubble pops – let the fear go!

You can also breathe wishes into the bubble and when it pops say: done deal or, make it so!

Magellan's Gift ™ Wish Away Bubbles!

Magellan’s Gift ™ Wish Away Bubbles!

Bubble blown with a shell wand!

Bubble blown with a shell wand!

Dry Brush Mica Technique for Handcrafted Artisan Soap

June 21, 2015
Muse 010aa

The Muse, a handcrafted soap made with a dry brush mica technique use on an impression mat!

Introducing the The Muse, a handcrafted soap made with a dry brush mica technique used on an impression mat! The scent is created with mints, patchouli and clove essential oils. The bar is enhanced with shea butter and avocado oil. Look for it July 18 at http://www.magellansgift.com or at the Harrisonburg, VA Farmers Market.

dry brushed mica on impression mat 1It is no secret that I love impression mats for my handcrafted soap. They can be used on the bottom of a mold and peeled off when the soap is firm.  Pesky soda ash which sometime forms on the top of the soap is not a concern for the design on the bottom will become the top of the soap. You can find impression mats where fondant cake icing mats are sold.

I’m working with a 3D printer shop to make custom mats for my soap and a lot of testing is still needed.  So in the meantime, I’ve been working on using color on an impression mat and trying to find the fastest and best way. So far, I like to use a flat stiff art paint brush, dip it dry into mica and use it lightly.

dry bush impression mat smaller

This is a photo of the mat removed by peeling it back about two days after pouring.

The muse 003a

Handcrafted soap using the dry brushed mica technique on a fondant impression mat

The last picture is of the soap batch ready to go back to a dedicated room for curing. A total of 30 bars of soap are made in what is called an HDPE divider mold. The edges will be beveled after 3 weeks.

May you always be surrounded with warm bubbles!

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

The Mints are Back!

May 6, 2015
Magellan's Gift Handcrafted Mint Soaps!

Magellan’s Gift™ Handcrafted Mint Soaps!

The Mints are back! Come by this Saturday to the Harrisonburg Farmers Market and buy something fresh, local and handcrafted for Mother’s Day and Graduations.

Pictured from left to right:

Rosemary Mint Soap is swirled with sea and Australian clay in peacock fashion and is scented with rosemary, spearmint and peppermint essential oils. This is a “be clean” soap enhanced with jojoba oil.

Lavender Mint Soap is softly scented with Lavender, spearmint and a touch of peppermint, expect a creamy lather from this one. The lavender has been increased slightly from the last limited addition batch. This is a natural colored soap for those who like it simple and clean. Lavender Mint Soap is enhanced with macadamia nut oil.

Ocean Mint is swirled with sea clay and sea-foam ultramarine mineral pigment. The scent is peppermint with just a touch of spearmint. Dried peppermint is added for a mild textured shower experience. This one is for those that like the wild cooling tingle of peppermint and the enhancement of macadamia nut oil.

Online sales for the featured soaps will start Friday.

Handcrafted soap available for Saturday, May 9 – subject to rapid change:

Rosemary Mint, Lavender Mint, Ocean Mint, Spirit Tree, Bergamot Coriander Ginger, Summer Spice, The Good Ship Victoria (4 left), Lavender Green, The Tangerman (low stock), Sirens’ Song, Lime Rosemary, Spearmint, Lavender Blue, West Indies Bay, Grapefruit Patchouli, The Mediterranean Salt and Cardamom Rose Geranium.

For those of you that are new to my posts, Magellan’s Gift™ sells handcrafted soaps at the Harrisonburg, VA Farmers Market located across from the Daily News Record at 228 S Liberty street year round. Current hours are from 8 AM to 1 PM.
Online sales – www.magellansgift.com

New – Bergamot Coriander Ginger Handcrafted Soap!

April 16, 2015
Bergamot Coriander Ginger scented handcrafted soap

Handcrafted Bergamot Coriander Ginger scented  soap

The latest addition to Magellan’s Gift™ Micro Soap Company’s line up of fine handcrafted soaps is currently just named after the key essential oils that gives the soap its refreshing scent.  Sales will start this Saturday both online and at the Harrisonburg, Va Farmers Market.

 

Pot Luck Gardener’s Soap

April 9, 2015
Pot Luck Gardener's Soap

Pot Luck Gardener’s Soap

The life of a soap molecule at Magellan’s Gift™ Micro Soap Company starts with heating, mixing, cooling and swirling. The still liquid soap is formed into bars, a day or two later the mold is removed. The soap is allowed to rest for about four weeks.The final step is to bevel the edges and polish. The remaining edges (from beveling) are carefully labeled for one year as a retention sample. The bars of soap are sold, but the samples have to wait until a magic moment when the soap maker decides that they are over a year old and the mood hits or muse insists.
The soap edges/retention samples are re-hydrated with Magellan’s Gift™ rose geranium distillate or AKA hydrosol. Fragile botanical ingredients like blueberry seeds, rose petals and cornflowers are added, as well as pumice for texture. It is totally based on whim or “pot luck”. Up to 16 plant based oils and butters, some quite exotic like kukui, evening primrose and hemp oil, go into the mix. Clays, oxides, ultramarine and mica color the soap. Vitamin E and rosemary extract act as antioxidants. Do to the large amount of possible ingredients, you should be careful if you have allergies or sensitivities. That said, these are often requested, but only offered once or twice a year.

Lots of happy soap molecules all rolled into a ball!

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

The Good Ship Victoria ~ The Survivor ~ a handcrafted soap!

February 26, 2015
the victoria 019bestcard

The Good Ship Victoria, a Magellan’s Gift™ handcrafted soap scented with grapefruit, lavender, peppermint, rose geranium and Persian lime essential oil.

This winter has been a tough one here in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  We have had long weeks of bitter cold, wind chill and now: more snow.  This time of year  I want spring, so my new soap needed to have a happy scent that is uplifting and light.  I also wanted something that makes me feel like a survivor, so naturally, I thought of Magellan’s Ship, the Victoria. The Victoria was the only surviving ship out five that completed its journey and brought back the epic tale of circumnavigation of the world.

To create a new scent, I work a drop at time, slowly evaluating the blend.  I’m not a perfumer, but I admire those that I know and the complexity of their craft.  In this blend, there are no base notes, just lots of high notes and a mid note or two.  I think you will find that grapefruit, lavender, peppermint, rose geranium and Persian lime give this soap a pleasingly soft citrus, almost floral scent with just a touch of peppermint to spice it up.  This scent is perfect now, but citrus scents are fleeting, so you want to use this soap within three months for the best effect in the shower.  It is my current favorite with a beautiful natural color of just the ingredients poured on a imprint mat.

Sailing onwards to spring!

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

Winter is hard to love right now!

February 20, 2015
Soap Saver/holder

Soap saver or holders for Magellan’s Gift™ handcrafted soap!

 

Unless the windy snow forecast for tomorrow changes, I will not be vending at the Harrisonburg Farmers Market. I will be in market withdrawal . . . it just isn’t a good week without seeing you all at the Market! Stay warm and safe.

The winter weather also delayed these babies from arriving! The UPS man finally made it up the driveway to deliver my new soap savers/dishes/holders for the website! These are very cool! They are made from up-cycled, sanitized disposable chopsticks and are created, as all my website soap dishes, here in the USA. They truly are Chopstick Art as their brand name states. They fold flat which will make shipping them a breeze. The larger ones will be used at the market for displays. I’ve carefully selected soap holders that are designed to make any soap last longer by allowing them to breath and not sit in a puddle of water and melt. I think their design complements my soap too.

Look for them at www.magellansgift.com along with my other soap savers and of course soap!

P.S.  You can still save 5% off on my website prices by using the code farmers market in the coupon box at check out!

Yours Truly,

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

Dark Patchouli Scented Soap, Plus a Real Website for Online Sales!

January 22, 2015
Handcrafted Artisan Dark Patchouli Limited Edition for 2015

Handcrafted Artisan Dark Patchouli Scented Soap ~  Limited Edition for 2015

The Limited Edition Dark Patchouli scented soap is ready!

Patchouli, like a fine wine or a good shot of whiskey, only improves as the years go by–unlike citrus essential oil which can be uplifting, but fleeting.

This particular patchouli essential oil (purchased for this limited edition of soap) comes from India and is dark iron distilled and aged in an oak barrel from the year 2006.

The soap bars are swirled all the way through with sea clay, southwest clay and bamboo charcoal. A very striking batch of handcrafted soap with a creamy lather, perfect for the shower or bath.

Drum roll now . . . Magellan’s Gift™ e-commerce website is live! If you’re not local, it is now easier to shop for Magellan’s Gift™ handcrafted soap.   Just click on the link in the upper right hand corner of this blog or go to:  http://www.magellansgift.com

Two important things to know:

For all my Facebook followers and past customers you now have a password for 5% off of my online website prices. At check out, just type in “farmers market” in the coupon box and you will receive the 5% discount. So, basically you are getting my local farmers market prices.

The second important thing to know:  my current shipping prices are just what I pay. The shopping cart isn’t very smart. For orders under 12 bars of soap and over 3 bars, I ship with the new Priority Regional A boxes. This means I can ship to California for $9.97 and only $5.32 to Northern Virginia for 12 bars of soap! So, like I said, my shopping cart is not smart. When I get your order, I will adjust the price to my shipping cost. You will not be charged for any excessive shipping. Hopefully this will improve.

Lori Curry ~ Soap Maker ~ Magellan’s Gift™

Charity and Magellan’s Gift™ soap!

January 9, 2015
Charity Jars

Charity jars and soap made from the last of the pot scrapping.

Last fall I added three charity jars to my table at my Harrisonburg, VA Farmers Market booth. These are for spare change and occasionally I have soap for donation. The jars are containers that my lye (sodium hydroxide) arrive in. They now get used twice before ending up in a recycling bin! The soaps are made with the last scrapping of my buckets, squeeze bottles and cups. When making soap you have to move very fast and I don’t always have time to get every last bit out. So, for charity and to not overload my septic system, I’ve found a solution of scrapping out the remaining soap after the main batches are made. The goal is to have 3 charities to chose from, with at least one local charity. Friends of the North Fork is the first to be counted and a check will go to them for $38.05. I will have another local environmental charity to take its place soon. Starting this Saturday, a new jar will be on my table for the Second Home. This non-profit, community-supported organization provides a safe place for kids to go, learn and receive help with homework, reading and math to ensure academic success. You can learn more about Second Home on their website:

www.secondhomeharrisonburgva.wordpress.com

www.facebook.com/secondhomeharrisonburg

Don’t worry, if you don’t live local, my mail order customers may be gifted a pot scrapping soap with their order. Think about donating to your favorite charity!

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

 

Magellan’s Gift™ wishes you a Happy New Year, plus musings and a new creation in handcrafted soap!

January 1, 2015
Handcrafted Soap Scented with lavender mint

Magellan’s Gift ™ handcrafted soap scented with lavender and mint essential oils

Happy New Year!  Farewell to a year of sacrifice, courage, retirement jitters, extreme joy, sad loss, wonderful slow mornings with coffee and beautiful sunrises!  Magellan’s Gift™ continues to slowly and surely grow.  I’ve met lots of new people and reconnected with old friends.   And . . . a crazy muse seems to be driving me to be more creative with an obsession with bubbles.

2015’s plan is to have controlled growth of my micro soap company, Magellan’s Gift™. I need to make quality soap smarter and faster – to allow for the good things in life. Improved record and bookkeeping or bust! Back to having fun with my beloved dogs, Aero and Race.  Go somewhere for an escape (possible travel?).  Make time for sunrises and sunsets.  Smell the roses!

Also, many thanks for all of those that make my micro soap company possible!

Today’s pictures feature the latest soap creation!  This is a lavender mint scented soap poured on a food grade silicone mat. Here are some pictures of the process:

 

A brand new food grade silicone mat placed on the bottom of my HDPE divider slab mold.

The dividers go into the mold after the soap is poured, but here I'm taking a sneak peak to see what might get

The dividers go into the mold after the soap is poured, but I’m taking a quick peak to see what the bars will look like when they are done.

This is the mold turned upside down, the bottom is removed and the silicone liner is peeled off.  So pleased!

This is the mold turned upside down, the bottom is removed and the silicone liner is peeled off. I’m so pleased!

Magellan’s Gift™ Soap scented with lavender mint will be available starting January 24, 2015!

Lori Curry ~ Soap Maker ~ lcurry@magellansgift.com

A view of my booth for handcrafted soap!

December 26, 2014
Magellan's Gift™ display at the Harrisonburg, VA Farmers Market

Magellan’s Gift™ display at the Harrisonburg, VA Farmers Market

I hope everyone had a great winter holiday, no matter what their spiritual beliefs. Kwanzaa starts today for a week long celebration! If you go to http://www.whychristmas.com/customs/25th.shtml you can learn how many cultures celebrate this time of year!

Handcrafted Soap available for Saturday, Dec 27 – subject to rapid change:

Dangerous Waters, The Seafarer, Sirens’ Song, Rosemary Mint (4 left), Hemp in the Meadow, Spirit Tree, Orange Patchouli, Spiced Fire, Spearmint, Tomato Festival, Lavender, Ocean Mint, Dark Forest (on sale $4.75), West Indies Bay, Here comes the Sun, Grapefruit Patchouli, The Trinidad, Mediterranean Salt and Cardamom Rose Geranium.

Also available – a few jars of Wish Away Bubbles™

For those that are new to my blog; I sell at the Harrisonburg, VA Farmers Market located across from the Daily News Record at 228 S Liberty street year round. Winter hours are from 9AM to 1PM.

Hope to see you there!

Lori Curry – Magellan’s Gift™

Magellan’s Gift™ Wish Away Bubbles™

December 19, 2014
Magellan's Gift ™ Wish Away Bubbles!

Magellan’s Gift Wish Away Bubbles™

New product development!

A bit of a tease, but I’ll have my Wish Away Bubbles™ at the Market for testing. The bubbles are a secret recipe made with Eco dish soap and the wands are from my crazy muse who makes me do these things. Many years ago, I was at a seminar for building confidence.  In the show ring, the speaker suggested visualizing a bubble and picturing your fear inside the bubble and then: pop it!

Well, being a soap maker, I had to try my hand at making bubbles. Real soap is great for the skin; detergent is better for bubbles. Eco dish detergent, that has no phosphates and biodegrades, was my choice for the project, but that alone won’t make great bubbles. Here’s where a little chemistry helps and after a few mistakes and some comparing of recipes, I got it. A Eureka moment!

The wands needed to be fanciful and fun. These aren’t for little kids, if you are worried about getting old, these are guaranteed to prevent maturity! Notice, I didn’t say blowing bubbles will keep you from getting old . . .

OK, dip the wand (shell) into the solution and blow gently and visualizing your worst fear.  Bubbles will form through the shell, sometimes quite a few, if you have lots of problems.  When the bubble pops – let the fear go!

You can also breathe wishes into the bubble and when it pops say: done deal or, make it so!

Bubble blown with a shell wand!

Bubble blown with a shell wand!

I will have Wish Away Bubbles™ at the Harrisonburg, VA Farmers Market this Saturday, Dec 20, 2014 for a sneak peak and testing!  Hope to see you there!   Lori Curry