There are just those days in everyone's life when you feel like everything you touch get's ruined. It happens for soap maker's too. The really horrible thing is when you're having one of those Jonah days in general and then you have a soap day that joins the fun. Sometimes, things go wrong.
The sad little story goes like this. Once upon a time, I bought Bramble Berry's Crisp Anjou Pear FO and Champagne FO. I decided they would be a delightful thing to combine and sure enough, they were. I mixed up a creamy orange and light, lime green colorant and added it to two separate portions of batter. The pudding-like mixture was awesome and positively perfect! After getting all the base in my mold, I prepped the frosting. I always do high-tops now, but with a different recipe made specifically for piping. I Knew I had just made an epic swirl (truly on of a kind) and was awfully pleased with myself.
After 30 minutes, my frosting STILL wasn't even beginning to thicken up. "How very odd." I said to myself. I checked everything and decided that perhaps I added a wittle too much water. I took 1/2 a teaspoon of sodium lactate and gave it a whirl. Lucky for me, that worked and the it became thick enough to do a little texturing. The final look was drop dead gorgeous.
And then.....things went wrong. 24 hours later, I pulled the loaf out of my wooden mold. The effervescent, bubbly fragrance filled the room and I lined up my knife for cutting. When I sliced through the first bar, the entire piped top fell off! It just fell off completely! It was crumbly, way too hard, and brittle. Needless to say, the high tops fell off EVERY SINGLE BAR! I could've cried I was so mad. "That blasted sodium lactate!" I screamed at myself inside my head. My recipe was foolproof. It didn't need that extra hardness. Something else had to be at play here. I went back down to the shed and finally found my stupid mistake. I had forgot to add the shea butter. I had melted it and never mixed it in. That's why the batter didn't harden up.
Here I sit with 12 bars of fabulously smelling soap, perfectly cleaned up and uniform.......and no pretty things on top. At least the bottom is perfect, but it sure is difficult to get over you expectations.
There are lessons to be learned, of course.
1. Make sure that you have added EVERY ingredient. Count it. Make a list. Do whatever you need to do, but don't start adding things to a recipe you know works perfectly until you make sure the ingredients are all present in your mixture.
2. Give yourself some grace when you mess up. I happen to know that quite a few soap makers are creative perfectionists. We want things to turn out right every time. We live in an imperfect world and batches that separate, seize, smell horrible, look awful, or don't turn out like we expect are going to happen. This is okay! After all, if we were guaranteed success all the time, we wouldn't learn and grow!
Have you had any of your soap go awry lately?