I blame it on Bex. It's all her fault. She'd probably blame it on me (and maybe she'd be right), but maybe we should just blame it on Martha Stewart.
My friend Bex and I decided that we wanted to make these fizzy bath bombs with a hidden message insidethat we saw on the Martha Stewart website. We watched the two accompanying videos and with instructions in hand, proceeded to make the bath bombs. We created the concoction and pressed it into the moulds and with a sense of satisfaction turned away to clean up. When we turned back, the bath bombs were growing like an alien entity, overspilling the moulds and fizzing like mad.
Back to the computer. We shunned Martha and looked for other advice. We found on another site that we had added too much water. We tried another recipe. This version went in the moulds beautifully. They came out of the moulds beautifully. Only thing was that these bath bombs were still a bit of a bomb because they didn't fizz at all. Fizz-less.
It was official we were bath bomb failures.
So when we decided to tackle soap making we thought it would be best to have professional guidance. We signed up for a course at the Make Lounge in Islington, North London.
The Make Lounge is a venue where you can gather and take a craft class in a contemporary and very social atmosphere, complete with tea, coffee, nibbles and even wine. And most importantly, in the company of some very cool and interesting people.
Jennifer was our fearless leader (and is the founder and Managing Director of the Make Lounge). Jennifer used to write for Martha Stewart apparently, but assures us that she didn't write any bath bomb instructions for them. I think if she had, we might have had better luck in the bath bomb department.
The course was 2.5 hours of pure fun. I had several geek moments (and that wasn't just because of the safety goggles) where I learned all sorts of interesting things about scent & soap and that the volume and mass of water are exactly the same (did you know that?????).
We started off with introductions which I found really inspiring. These women were funky, vibrant and all about making life more interesting.
We learned about essential oils, their properties and had a thorough sniff test. I discovered that I hate ylang ylang, love black pepper and that patchouli reminds me way too much of university.
In small groups we decided on the scent mix we were going to make. My group, consisting of myself, Bex, Amanda (below in black) and Martine (below in pink) very quickly came up with a consensus and we went with lavender, black pepper and cinnamon. Before the course I never would have combined these scents but I loved the final product of the mix. Our group was so diplomatic at decision making that we should run a small country together. It would be the best smelling nation in the world, no doubt.
We picked our "toppings" for our soap (picture a salad bar of dried flower petals).
We then moved on to the chemistry portion of the evening, complete with careful measuring courtesy of Amanda, mixing and monitoring of temperatures. Temperature is key to getting your soap right. The camera got left behind at this point as we all had goggles on and no one wants a record of that on the internet, plus you have to move really fast, and I mean really fast, at this point in the process to get your soap into the moulds once it reaches the right point.
We then put a lid on our moulds and swaddled our little soap babies in warm blankets to keep them warm. We learned how to care for our soap once we got home and asked the last of our pressing questions.
I took my soap out of the mould last night and cut it into slices. And guess what? It looks like soap. It smells like really divine soap. No alien entities here.
Had fun - check
Learned new things - check
Met cool people - check
Did it all for a reasonable price and no buying of equipment - check
Took home beautiful handcrafted stuff - check
Already picked out my next course at the Make Lounge - check
I am determined now, to beat the bath bomb. It will not defeat me. Not this crafter. And the Make Lounge's Bath and Beauty Products workshop is my new secret weapon.