Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Winter 2014 Soap Swap: Hosted by Bramble Berry

I participated in Bramble Berry's Soap Swap for the first time.
The basic idea behind the Swap is:
1. You must use a fragrance or essential oil that Bramble Berry currently sells. And they were only allowing two people to enter for each scent, so we would all get a variety of different scented soaps.
2. You send twelve 4 oz. bars of soap to Bramble Berry, they do the swapping, and you receive twelve bars from twelve different soapers.
3. They had to receive the soaps by March 17th, 2014
4. You pay the shipping, and that's it!
5. Then you anxiously await your amazing box of assorted soaps.... at least that's what I did. I could hardly wait for that box to arrive.

This is the lot that I received...
Soaps from Bramble Berry's Winter 2014 Soap Swap
Oh and one of the best parts..... Free Samples from Bramble Berry ... they send a free sample with every order you place through them too. It's a great way to get and try a small amount of their product without having to order a lot, if your not sure if you'll like it. I've been wanting to try some colorants and look, that is what one of the samples is! YAY! Now I'll have to find a scent to use with this Neon Blue Raspberry Colorant.... hmmm.
The Sunny Herb Garden Fragrance Oil smells just like you are walking through an herb garden.

Free Samples
Now I'm going to show a close up of each of the soaps, in no particular order, and give a review on them as well. So, here goes...
Handmade by Anne-Marie Faiola, the Soap Queen
Made by: Anne-Marie Faiola, the Soap Queen at Bramble Berry
Oils and Butters: Olive, Coconut, Palm, and Rice Bran Oils, Mango and Shea Butter.
Packaging: This soap is wrapped, very nicely, in a shrink wrap band with perforations on the one side for easy opening. The ends are open so I was able to smell the soap without opening the wrapper. The colors of this soap are easily seen through the clean wrap.
Size and Shape: The size and shape of this bar is amazing, it fits nicely in my hand, and I love the beveled corners. That is something I've been considering doing with my own soaps and now I'll have to try it... Very nice.
Color: The bright colors and swirls that Anne-Marie used are amazing. I love it! Colors and swirls are something else I'm looking forward to trying soon. I've not worked with colorants yet, so this gives me some inspiration to start.
Scent: This soap is scented with Lemon and Lime Essential Oils. It gives off a nice  lemon-lime scent, that is very refreshing.
Overall: I'm definitely looking forward to trying this one in the shower.

Made in Atlanta by Karen
Made in: Atlanta by Karen. I wish I had a link for her but I don't at this time.
Oils: Olive, Coconut, Palm, and Castor.
Packaging: Looked very elegant in it's black and white, cigar-band type wrap. I'm not sure if "Mockingbird" is her company name or just the name of this soap. I'm guessing it's the name of this soap not the company name.
Size and Shape: A good sized bar, at least an inch thick, this bar will last through many showers or baths. I think it's a size that men would like too because it is a little larger that some soaps I've seen.
Color and Texture: This soap's deep blue-grey colors matches the scent very well. The poppy seeds on top finish it off nicely. I can't tell if there are poppy seeds mixed into the soap as well or if it's the ones on the sides got pushed down from the top during cutting. Either way, if they are in the soap it doesn't look like there are many so it isn't going to be a real abrasive soap.
Scent: It says made with Black Tea and Beau Brummel fragrance. I will say when I first smelled this soap I didn't like the scent at all. Then I looked up the description of each of the scents and tried again. Now I find myself picking it up to give it a sniff every time I'm in the same room with it. There is something very intriguing about the smell, and I can't put my finger on it. Sometimes I smell the tea, other times I smell the tobacco notes. I'm not sure what all I'm smelling here, but it's definitely a very masculine scent and makes me think of what a distinguished gentleman from couple of centuries ago (maybe Rhett Butler's era) may have smelled like.
Overall: It grew on me and I really like it, now. It is not a soap I'd personally want to wash with but I do like to pick it up and smell it now and then. I am also liking that it has raw goat milk in it. All all of the soaps I make also have raw goat milk, so I always like to find others who soap with milk.

Eucalyptus Spearmint Soap
Made by: Sadly, I have no information on where this came from or who made it.
Oils: Canola, Coconut, Palm, and Vegetable Shortening.
Packaging: This soap is also wrapped, very nicely, in a shrink wrap band with perforations along one side for easy opening. The ends are open so I was able to smell the soap without opening the wrapper. The clear wrap allows a nice view of the swirls in the soap.
Size and Shape: Very nice sized bar, cut at just a little less than an inch thick, so it's not overpowering in small hands. I like the wavy cut on the sides
Color: Green Chrome Oxide and Titanium Dioxide were used to make the lovely swirls in this soap. Very nice color choice for this scent.
Scent: I'm going to assume that Spearmint Eucalyptus Fragrance Oil was used in this soap, it's not listed in the ingredients but is certainly has some kind of spearmint and eucalyptus scents in it. It has a nice clean, refreshing scent. I think this one will be a good one for days that I need an extra boost to get me going.
Overall: I like this soap! The green and white swirls and the scent work very nice together.

Fire and Ice made by Gudrun Jenkins at Icelandic Organic Soaps
Made by: Gudrun Jenkins at Icelandic Organic Soaps in Orlando, Florida.
Oils: Coconut, Rice Bran, Canola, and Castor.
Packaging: Packaging is just a net-like ribbon around the soap. Being scented with "salty mariner" scent the ribbon reminds me of  a fisherman's net. Very simple and elegant.
Size and Shape: Nice big bar with a wavy cut on two sides. I'm finding I like this wavy look on soaps, I may have to buy a cutter that will do this.
Color: I love the blue/green with the crackled white top, it looks just like ice on water to me. The gold and copper mica that represents the "fire" part of the soap is a little on the heavy side for my liking but that may be just my simplistic nature. The Black Icelandic Salt on top is a nice accent, kind of looks like the charcoal in a fire.
Scent: Scented with Salty Mariner Fragrance Oil this is a very strong scented soap that I do not like. Maybe I live too far inland to enjoy the smell of the salty ocean spray or a mariner. The scent is quoted on Bramble Berry's website as "Like an angry sea, this fragrance does have a more powerful side".
Overall: This soap is very pretty, just not one that I would ever use. I feel really bad saying that as I do not want to hurt Gudrun's feelings. I wanted to love every scent but this is one scent that I wouldn't buy.

Lavender Energy by KCK Soaps
Made by: KCK Soaps in Michigan
Oils: Olive, Coconut, Palm, and Castor.
Packaging: Wrapped in a nice handmade bag (I guess that is what it is called) which allows you to see and smell the soap yet still protects it. I saw a tutorial of her making these bags on YouTube, but now I'm not able to find it to link back to it... I'll keep looking.
Ah-ha I found it! Here she is making the packaging and talking about this soap.
Size and Shape: They size and shape of this soap fits my hand nicely. Again, that wavy cut is really nice. And the textured top is very nice too
Colors: The pink, blue and white colored swirls, in this soap, are very pretty.
Scent: Scented with a blend of Bramble Berry's  Lavender essential oil and Energy Fragrance oil this soap is a perfect blend of relaxing yet energizing goodness.
Overall: I really like this bar. It is the first one I've used this soap to wash with and it has big, creamy, and long lasting bubbles. Very nice.

Black Raspberry Vanilla by Sweetness Sweet Soap
Made by: Sweetness Sweet Soap. Location is unknown to me.
Oils and Butters: Virgin Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Almond Butter, Apricot Oil, Argon Oil, and Castor Oil.
Packaging: This soap was wrapped in a clear plastic bag along with iridescent Easter grass (for lack of a better word) and tied with ribbons that match the colors in the soap, then embellished with a star.
Size: Fits nicely in my hand.
Color: The purple and pink swirls match the Black Raspberry Vanilla scent will. It is topped with iridescent glitter that gives it a nice shimmer. Very nicely done.
Scent: Black Raspberry Vanilla is a scent that is sweet and fruity and I think I'm even picking up a hint of musk. I really like this scent. It isn't too sweet or fruity smelling its just a nice well rounded scent that is very inviting.
Overall: I really liked this soap and scent. The only thing I would change would be to leave out the Easter grass or maybe not put quite so much in the bag. The grass was wrapped all the way around the soap and I couldn't see those beautiful swirls until I got is untangled from the grass. The hand written label was a really nice touch, it was even on purple paper to match the soap and ribbons.
A Little Bar of Joy
Made by: The maker is unknown to me.
Oils and Butters: Palm Oil, Coconut Oil, Canola Oil, Almond Oil, Shea Butter, and Castor Oil.
Packaging: VERY Elegant packaging on this bar. I love the paper jacket with the butterfly and ribbon. And the plastic wrap holds it all together, nicely. This was one of my favorite packaging methods.
Size and Shape: This is a wide and tall bar of soap but not too thick so it isn't bulky in your hands. Very good size that will last a long time.
Color: Beautiful, elegant, very well thought out color patterns. The flowers, glitter, and sugar beads on the top match the colored swirls perfectly.
Scent: Scented with a combination of very strong fragrance and essential oils (Honey Suckle, Neroli, English Rose, Baby Rose FO's and Eucalyptus and Grapefruit EO's) this soap is very "perfumy", and overpowering.
Overall: This is one of the prettiest soaps that I received, but with the overpowering scents it is not one I would use.
Cranberry Chutney/Crisp Apple Rose by Country Candles and Scents
Made by: Country Candles and Scents. Located in Texas.
Oils and Butters: Palm Oil, Coconut Oil, Canola Oil, Olive Fruit Oil, Castor Oil, Rice Oil, and Shea Butter.
Packaging: This soap is packed in a clear plastic soap box. The product can easily be seen through the packaging.
Size and Shape: This 4.5 oz bar is a nice size that fits nicely in my hand. It is cut a bit crooked, I'm not sure if that was intentional or not.
Colors: Has a very nice swirl design consisting of purple, green, peach, and white. Also has glitter on the top to add a little sparkle to it.
Scent: The scents listed on the label are Cranberry Chutney and Crisp Apple Rose. Without knowing what each of these scents smells like alone I have no idea what parts I'm picking up in this soap. It's not a scent that when I first smell it I know right away what it is. It's not an unpleasant smell by any means, just not one I'm really drawn too either. It is a very subtle scent. Not my favorite by certainly not my least favorite either.
Overall: A nice soap. The box had a lot of smudged soap on the inside of it (can be seen in photo). Maybe the soap was a bit soft when packaged or something. Or, it just got jostled around in it's two trips across the country and it wouldn't normally be that way during a normal order shipment. Either way, it didn't hurt the product at all just didn't do the clarity of the package justice.
Sweet Pea from that Blue cat
Made by: Brett at That Blue Cat from WV
Oils: Canola, Palm, Coconut, and Castor.
Packaging: Wrapped in a piece of tissue paper with a pretty printed label. Simple packaging, yet very pretty. I was even able to smell the scent through the tissue paper.
Size: A very nice size that fits my hand well.
Color: The soft pastel colors in this soap remind me of a some kind of summer time dessert. They are so soft yet go with the scent so well. Very clean layers on this soap. Nicely done!
Scent: Sweet Pea is the scent of this soap. This scent is such a nice sent it is now on my 'wish list' at Bramble Berry. Definitely a scent that I will be trying.
Overall: I love it. Everything about is says Spring or Summer to me. I can't wait to try it.
Vanilla Select Soap by an unknown maker
Made by: There was no information about who made this soap.
Oils: Tallow
Packaging: This soap was in a simple little clear ziploc bag. with a plain label with the fragrance on the front and the ingredients on the back of the package.
Size: The size of this bar is a nice little chunk that isn't too cumbersome in my hand. Once I use it a few time and the corners get rounded down it'll be easier to hold.
Colors: A nice medium brown color which I suspect may get a bit darker as it ages. I sliced the end off this bar and the inside was a light cream color with a brown swirl inside. The label lists Medium Brown and Dark Brown Oxide, I was thinking the color was coming from the vanilla scent but I see now that not all of it did.
Scent: Vanilla Select. This is a very light yet sweet and creamy scent. I like it a lot.
Overall: I think I'm going to like this rustic looking bar a lot once it hardens up. It was very soft when it arrived. I'm not sure if it was from being sealed in plastic or if it just needed a little more time to cure. I've taken it out of the bag and have it on my curing rack and in the last two days it is already quite a bit harder. Being made with Tallow should create a very hard bar in the end.
Lemongrass Soap by Cindy
Made by: Cindy n
Oils and Butters:

To Be Continued....
This is taking me a lot longer than I expected. But I just get started and one of my little people need something or is into something that they shouldn't be. I tried writing last night after they went to bed but my mind was numb and I couldn't think how to best describe these amazing soaps.... so I'll be back throughout the day to add more.

Made by:
Oils and Butters:

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