MY COLOR OBSESSION CONFESSION
Hello beautiful world of fellow crafters! My name is Amber Beltran, and I live, eat (Not literally, but sometimes I wish I could!), breathe and sleep all things soap-related! If you’re reading this, chances are you do too! We are “comrades in craft”, sisters and brothers in bubbles! When Carrie Thornsbury contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in contributing to this wonderful blog, I didn’t hesitate to answer with an enthusiastic, “YES!”. As I sat down with my little notebook, brainstorming ideas and topics I could write about, one in particular jumped out at me, as it’s a topic I’m passionate about: color blending!
I positively love colors, and my infatuation with micas (and subsequent addiction to them) runs deep within my Klein Blue veins! When I look at a beautiful mica, I see so much more than just a color… I see the possibilities of color schemes. I see blends and different color combinations. I see inspiration for soapy themes, and I contemplate fragrances which would pair perfectly with how a specific color makes me feel.
For a crafter to have a whole menagerie of different color possibilities at their creative disposal, only a few, key colors are actually needed. By having a few, choice, staple colors on-hand, one has the potential to create a plethora of different color blends. But this is where my confession comes in… I am a self-proclaimed “blend-a-holic”! I absolutely love taking one mica color and blending it with others to create something entirely new! At the same time however, my love and obsession for colors makes it impossible for me to stop at just having a few, staple colors on-hand. I enjoy the creativity of blending, but I also love having many other colors readily available to me with which to work with (I am a creature of creativity and ease)!
For this, my very first Nurture Soap blog post, I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to see if I could take just one main “focus color”, and through the magic of blending, use it to create an array of different colors within the same soap batch. But which mica to choose? The answer was easy: “My Red Obsession” mica!
“My Red Obsession” mica is an absolutely stunning shade of rich, deep, sultry red. It’s perfect for this project in that it’s not just as versatile as it is gorgeous, but it’s also a custom mica blend exclusive to Nurture Soap, and made by Carrie Thornsbury herself! To say she created a red masterpiece is an understatement when it comes to this mica!
I’ve worked with this lovely color many times before in cold process soap, and by itself, the results are fabulous! It also just so happens to be the star component of one of my all-time favorite color blends. By taking “My Red Obsession” and mixing it at equal parts with Nurture Soap’s classic and dazzling “Orchid Purple” mica, the result is a positively ravishing shade of plum! I knew right away this was the first blend I wanted to incorporate in this project.
For inspiration, I mixed up a small blend of “My Red Obsession” and “Orchid Purple” micas, then busily went through my coveted collection of Nurture Soap fragrance oils to find the perfect scent to compliment this opulent color concoction… It didn’t take long at all! Nurture Soap’s “Blackberry Bliss” fragrance oil is precisely that! It is a truly blissful aroma of ripe, juicy, sweet, sparkling blackberries in all their delectable, mouthwatering blackberry glory! It’s one of many personal favorites, and is a perfect performer in cold process soap. The scent retention is outstanding, and it smells amazing in application!
OF EMBEDS AND MELT & POUR SOAP BASES
Because this blissful fragrance oil behaves so well in cold process soap, I decided to go all out with this one. I planned a fluid drop-swirl design, complete with a piped-top and melt & pour embeds to match the blackberry theme. First thing was to get to work on making the embeds.
When I make melt & pour embeds for piped-top soap designs, I am extremely picky about which melt & pour soap base I use. The reasons for this are plentiful and based on much trial and error. In fact, I could easily devote an entire blog post detailing precisely why Nurture Soap’s Low Sweat Melt & Pour Soap Bases are the superior choice for embed-making! For the sake of time for this blog post though, I’ll just say that when it comes to making embeds, Nurture Soap’s melt & pour soap bases are the only bases I use. For this project, I used their Low Sweat, Clear Soap Base.
Only a small amount of melt & pour soap base is needed for embed-making, so getting my color ratios perfect and consistent is easy-peasy with Nurture Soap’s .15CC Mini Scoops! These handy-dandy little scoops ensure all my embeds come out uniform in color, which was especially helpful for this project, since my blackberry embed mold only has 2 cavities, and I needed to make 16 of them. Melting down a little bit of soap base at a time, I was able to achieve consistent color throughout all my embeds by adding 1 scoop of “My Red Obsession” mica, and 1 scoop of “Orchid Purple” mica to the melted base. This beautiful blend created a delightful shade for my little blackberry embeds, and for an added pop of color contrast, “Hello Spring” mica used for leaf embeds made this color combination sing! With my melt & pour embeds complete, it was time to delve deeper into this wonderful world of other color blends I could create with “My Red Obsession” mica!
I went into this project knowing I wanted 6 colors in total for my drop-swirl design: “Winter White” mica as my “base color”, “My Red Obsession” mica on its own, and of course, my tried and true plum-color blend. This left me with 3 more color blends just begging to be created, using the magnificent “My Red Obsession” mica as the main “focus color”. “My Red Obsession” mica is so versatile in that when it comes to blending other colors with it, one can easily go with either warm tones or cool tones with this shade. Blend yellows, oranges, golds or browns with “My Red Obsession”, and you’ve got a recipe for some pretty awesome warm tones. Blend blues, purples and white with it, and cool tones will abound! This was definitely a cool tones project, so I grabbed the appropriate colors from my mica stash and began blending!
When it comes to creating color schemes within a soapy project, on a personal level, I love incorporating both bold and soft shades. Soft colors, paired with bold colors, just seem to compliment each other so well, with softer shades accentuating and drawing attention to the bolder ones. I began with my bold colors and a bit of olive oil to pre-disperse them in. First was to mix up “My Red Obsession” on its own, followed by my favorite plum-color blend. For the third blend, I grabbed my trusty jar of “Blue Vibrance” mica and hoped for the best. Nothing could’ve prepared me for how insanely pretty this blend ended up being! As I turned on my mini-mixer and saw a richly pigmented amethyst-type purple emerge, I was immediately smitten!
My bold shades were done, and I was completely in love with them, so it was time to create some soft shades with the remaining 2 colors. I adored the intensity of my bold blends next to “My Red Obsession” in its unaltered state, so I decided I’d play off that color theme for my soft shades as well. Taking both my “plum” and “amethyst” blends, I grabbed some “Winter White” mica and continued blending… What I got left me mesmerized! With “Winter White” mica, my “plum” blend transformed into a delicate shade of violet, and my “amethyst” blend bloomed into an elegant shade of lilac!
MY NAMING OBSESSION
By using just one mica color as my blending inspiration, I was able to create 4 other colors that were downright dreamy to behold! Whenever I blend up a new color and write it down in my color journal (I can’t be the only one who has one!), it’s easier for me to visualize the color for future projects if I give it a name. I blame this entirely on being an 80’s child, watching “The NeverEnding Story” way too many times, and desperately imploring, alongside the Childlike Empress, for the story’s hero, Bastian, to give her name! What can I say, I’m nostalgic through and through, so in this case, I gave each new color blend its very own name… Although with not quite as much gusto as Bastian did, when he jumped to the window, threw open the shutters and yelled, “Moon Child!”, out into the stormy night! Here’s what they are:
“My Plum Obsession” = Equal parts “My Red Obsession” and “Orchid Purple” micas.
“My Amethyst Obsession” = Equal parts “My Red Obsession” and “Blue Vibrance” micas.
“My Violet Obsession” = 1 part “My Red Obsession” mica, 1 part “Orchid Purple” mica, 2 parts “Winter White” mica.
“My Lilac Obsession” = 1 part “My Red Obsession” mica, 1 part “Blue Vibrance” mica, 2 parts “Winter White” mica.
GETTING THE COLORS IN SOAP
My Zen-like moment of creativity continued as I carefully divided my soap batter into 5 equal(ish) portions, which would become the 4 accent colors I blended using “My Red Obsession” mica, as well as “My Red Obsession” itself. I incorporated “Winter White” mica into the remaining soap batter. Colors can be tricky sometimes though, especially in cold process soap. Before I began coloring my soap portions, I said a little prayer to the soap gods! I knew “My Red Obsession” mica would remain just as true and luxurious-looking in application as it appears in the jar, but what about the other color blends? I wondered about any possible color morphing, but the soap gods had my back! Each color blend stayed as true and vibrant in my soap as they had looked in carrier oil. I was thrilled with how “berry delicious” the colors complimented each other (Sorry, I couldn’t resist throwing in a pun!) and the fragrance oil too! In the picture, you can see each color blend in cold process soap batter. From closest to furthest: “My Violet Obsession”, “My Amethyst Obsession”, “My Red Obsession”, “My Lilac Obsession” and “My Plum Obsession."
THE PERFECT FINISHING TOUCHES
By this time, my whole workspace was filled with the sweet, juicy aroma of “Blackberry Bliss” fragrance oil, and even at the time of this writing, days after the soaps have been cut and placed on the curing rack, I can walk through my front door and still catch delightful whiffs of sweet blackberry goodness… it’s that scrumptious! The fragrance oil behaved so incredibly well for me, from start to finish, executing my intended design of a fluid drop-swirl was a breeze!
Despite the fact that this particular soapy creation would feature a piped top, when I finished pouring, the variations of colors were so pretty, I simply couldn’t resist taking a bamboo skewer through it anyway, and doing a quick swirl across the top. I could’ve stopped right there, and all would’ve been right in my soapy world, but I decided to continue with the original plan and whipped up some soap frosting!
It’s time to get this all out on the table and admit, I’m not just obsessed with color, I’m obsessed with all things sparkly too, and Nurture Soap has the best “bling” to accentuate any crafty project! I’m talking specifically about their glitters! What makes their glitters an absolute must-have for me is the fact that not only are they breathtaking to look upon, but they’re 100% environmentally friendly too! I live in Florida, so it was important to me to make the switch to using only eco-friendly glitters in my handmade projects, so that I could do my small part in helping to keep micro-plastics out of our oceans. For this specific project, a dusting of “Mystic Red” Eco-Friendly EnviroGlitter was the perfect added touch!
“Mystic Red” EnviroGlitter is a white-based glitter which sadly, pictures simply cannot do justice. Its glimmering tones of various shades of red, fuchsia and pink are truly captivating though! When caught in the light, it shimmers and shines with the brilliance of a thousand sparkling, red fairies! For this soapy theme, “Mystic Red” EnviroGlitter wasn’t just the cherry on top, it was the blackberry on top too! Well, other than the actual blackberry embeds themselves! Once I had dusted a healthy amount of “bling” to my soap frosting and placed the blackberry and leaf embeds on top, it was time to get this batch insulated and put to bed for the night.
MY SOAPMAKING OBSESSION
The next morning arrived, and I hopped out of bed, excited to get this batch cut and see those color blends in action! The unmolding and cutting of soap batches is my most favorite part of soapmaking. It’s that moment when you finally get to see the fruits of your labors. Each and every time I cut into a loaf of soap, I feel like a child on Christmas morning… The excitement and anticipation are palpable, and that feeling of pure joy and satisfaction you get when you see each beautiful bar for the very first time never gets old! I’ve been making soap on my own for nearly 6 years now, and grew up around soap makers, but still, to this very day, when I cut another batch of soap, I am in awe of my abilities and think, “Wow! I did this!”. These are the moments that never feel stagnant, and create addictions out of hobbies! Your soaps are personal manifestations of your amazing ability and creativity… Always feel proud of your “soap babies”! There are billions of bars of soap out there, but not a single one is quite like yours! That’s the magic and beauty of soapmaking!
As I cut each blissfully blackberry-scented bar of soap (each one unique from the next, and the one before it), I carefully inspected each colorful swirl, and felt that pure joy each and every soap maker can certainly relate to. I challenged myself to create a full color theme based upon an incredible crafter’s own red obsession, and the results were a colorful success! This is my love. This is my passion. This is my obsession! If in some small way I can help to inspire and ignite that creative passion in others, then I am truly one honored soap maker! So get out there, grab your aprons, gloves and protective eyewear, and get those creative (blackberry) juices flowing! Embrace your soapy obsessions, run wild with them, and through your own amazing creations, inspire others to do the same!