Who is this 'Moose', and why is it so artsy?
Love it or hate it, my Dad always called me The Moose. That's what comes from being a headstrong, redheaded two-year-old I guess. I didn't become an 'Artsy' Moose until I got a bit older, although I did try to paint my tricycle with water-colours once when I was about three. Mum was not happy because I was wearing my best clothes at the time.
I started painting mandalas on rocks at the end of 2017. After one failed attempt, I got the hang of it, and the hobby just took off. Some of the rocks take over three hours to paint, depending on the level of detail. The stones are all painted with indoor/outdoor acrylic paint, and sprayed with a light sealant. They are recommended for indoors, although they do seem to survive outside for up to a year dependant upon the weather conditions of course.
Halfway through 2018 I bought some heart-shaped moulds to make some plaster cast shapes to paint on. While researching how best make the plaster, I noticed some you-tube videos on soap making using similar moulds. Next thing you know, I was making soap! I decided I wanted to make my soap with no animal fats (you'd be surprised at how many commercial brands use animal fats) and no palm oil - sustainable or not. It's harder than you might think! You have to have some 'hard oils' and some 'soft oils' for soap, as each of them bring different qualities. You need to juggle hardness with lather, creaminess with longevity, cleaning with moisturising. So much to learn! And so The Sudsy Moose emerged. (Heads up - Artsy Moose and Sudsy Moose are the same person).
I settled on some 'base' oils for my soaps - the most common being Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Soybean Oil, Rice Bran Oil, Shea Butter, and Castor Oil. I often use others like Apricot Kernel Oil, Avocado Oil, Cocoa Butter, Babassu Oil and sometimes Canola Oil. I don't use nut oils at all - only because my son has a nut allergy and I figure some other people do too, so best not to risk it. I started out using only essential oils for fragrance, but I soon discovered that some of them don't have a very long-lasting scent, plus I need to use about 30mls per batch of soap - which would make the soap very expensive. So I now use a blend of essential oils and cosmetic safe fragrance oils.
I have two lovely little West Highland Terriers - Molly and Maggie, so I also make doggy soap using base oils and essential oils that are safe for dogs, and good for their coat.
Cold-process soap takes about 4 - 6 weeks to cure - it's a bit like a fine wine or cheese. The longer they cure, the better they are for lather and gentleness. Three to six months is even better. I don't sell my soaps until they are at least 4 weeks old.
Handmade soaps should be kept 'high and dry' - make sure you have a soap dish that keeps them out of the water. They are not like commercial soaps - they are not full of chemicals and compressed into hard bars that last forever. Be good to your soaps and they'll be good to you : )
Meet the team
Team member 1
The Artsy Moose! Maker of stones and moulder of soaps.
Team member 2
The Significant Other. He's very supportive. He's out in the garage right now making me a new soap mould. Very clever he is.
Team member 3&4
Molly and Maggie - official testers of my doggy soap.