April 11, 2013

Guinness and Ginger

Photo A
 It's kind of funny, my making soap with booze. I started out with White Star made with Champagne, but didn't get around to making soap with beer until months later. Usually, it's beer you start with since it's so much cheaper than Champagne.

Anyhow, I used Guinness after reading it makes a nice dark brown soap and olive oil pomace infused with the small amount of hops that grew in my garden last year.

A note about hops: It's an herb, a very useful one—and not just for making beer. It's also a sedative—just harvesting hops can make you feel extremely relaxed. Hops is also used to help painful swelling, bruises, rough skin and rashes.

And I love the way it smells. Nothing better than a good hoppy beer.

Unfortunately, hops essential oil is extremely expensive ($100 an ounce). Supposedly, the hops scent in beer does come through the soap making process, but since Guinness isn't a hoppy beer, I used ginger essential oil in this batch.

Next batch—and there will be another batch by the end of the summer—I'll use a super hoppy beer and leave it unscented.

Photo B
Now on to the photographs. The top one (Photo A) was done as part of a photo challenge on Soaper's Retreat run by Joanna Schmidt—who I consider to be the Queen of Soap Porn—not only does she take great soap photos, she blogs about them and inspires other soapmakers to photograph outside the soap box.

The challenge was to photograph a plain bar of soap with one of your favorite things in the background. I used an oil painting done by Gertrude Hock, a friend of my parents. I really like the way it turned out. And it kind of gives the feeling of the ginger scent. Which was unintentional. A happy accident.

Photo C
But, of course I wanted to photograph the soap with some Guinness. Makes sense, right? So I took a few bars to Perdition last evening, got myself a pint and took a bunch of shots on a table near the front of the bar that was open to the sidewalk.

And I'm not really happy with the results. I don't mind that they're a bit dark. That kind of captures the feel of a quiet pint in a bar, but I think they look clichéd. And as a writer, I hate clichés.

But I could be wrong about this.

And so, I'm asking you gentle reader, what you think. Please vote for your favorite photo with the cute little poll gadget located on the right of this post. I'm keeping the poll open until midnight on April 20th. I'll post the results on the 21st and use the winning photo as a product shot on the here.

Photo D
 Feel free to share this post with millions. And thanks in advance for your input.