Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Broken layer, broken heart ...

My layered Fresh Snow soap was going to be so beautiful. I was going to sandwich layers of crisp blue and light blue between pure-driven white. Glitter suspended in the blue portion would look like snowflakes drifting to the ice-covered ground below.

Wowza, look at that!
It was going to be gorgeous, I tells ya.

And it was ...

Until it fell apart.

Sigh. Such is the soaping life. Sometimes, no matter how careful you are or how much rubbing alcohol you spritz, you mess things up. And, ooh, how do I hate to mess things up. I live in constant fear of messing things up. Which usually just makes me more nervous and therefore more likely to mess up.

And me getting "more nervous" is very serious business. I am already nervous as it is. I haven't had fingernails since 1989. My spirit animal would probably be the squirrel, either running or freezing at every threat (and threats are around every corner). Make me "more nervous" and I'm like a paranoid schizophrenic squirrel on crack. It's not good, and it's not very conducive to crafting (or anything else, really). And we're just talking about soap here - it's not like I'm performing brain surgery or piloting a commercial jumbo-jet.

Anyway, I kinda thought this might happen. When I poured the first white layer (the layer that popped off), it took forever to set up. It has been really hot here in Florida lately, so maybe my house was too warm, I don't know. But it just would not set up. And as you soapers know, timing and temperature are crucial when layering. You have to pour as soon as the previous layer is ready, and that layer still needs to be warm. Time was ticking away and the skin on the soap still wasn't thick enough. Eternal optimist that I am, I was thinking, "This will never work. This is taking way too long."

I plowed ahead, though, and finished up the soap in the hopes that maybe everything would work out and be okay somehow (always a bad strategy). Interestingly, the blue layers set up very fast - almost too fast - and this had me worried, too. Those layers stayed together, though.

I rarely have layers pop apart on me. I hate having a layered loaf fall apart on me for many reasons. First of all, it seriously shakes my confidence, which, as I explained earlier, is not good for squirrel-like people. Second, I feel like I wasted a day making something ineffective. Third, I have to spend another day salvaging the soap and fixing the problem. And fourth, I then have to hope that my fix worked, or else I'll be looking at three wasted days.

Fortunately, melt-and-pour soap is as forgiving as a favorite pair of sweatpants. If you screw up, just cut it up, melt it down, and try again.

That's what I did. Instead of trying to dissect all of the layers and repour them, I thought maybe a solid light blue bar might be nice. Simple, sophisticated, no chance of falling apart.

So, I poured it all into my loaf mold again. (I had to use two 4-cup measuring glasses because it wouldn't all fit in one and 4-cup is the largest capacity measuring glass I have. Maybe it's time to get an 8-cup glass.)

Here's the result. Pretty blue with a dusting of irridescent glitter on the tops. I like the way it turned out, and I hope others will, too.

Ah, melt-and-pour, thank you for your flexibility. You are never truly wasted, although some projects just can't feasibly be brought back to square one again. But even if the effect fails, the soap doesn't.