Well, apparently the universe likes me to stick to soft and natural. I prepared the Cochineal by grinding up a few bugs and adding them to water until the colors was really saturated and way too strong for what I intended. When I added the lye the water turned to purple, as was to be expected, but when I added the oils and started to stir, the colour simply disappeared. I had this happen once with Logwood, a beautiful purple that refused to participate in a soap making adventure. Since I really didn't want as wishy-washy nondescript soap I grabbed my bottle of ... no not Rumex oil, but Rheum oil (that's Rhubarb to you and me). As I poured it into the soap I could see great red color swirls and they soon turned the soap pink and I was quite happy. Usually Rumex and Rheum oils turn a tan colour at first, changing overnight to pink. But this was fine with me. Immediately pink. Great. So I put some Lavender, Lemongrass and Rosewood essential oils into it and then my poppy seeds, poured it into the little moulds and went to bed.
The next morning this surprising result waited for me. Exactly what I hadn't wanted: A rather insipid, undecided, plain, dull, nondescript, wishy-washy colour, if it even deserves that noun. And to make matters worse, it had a really really thick layer of ash. I don't mind some ash, but this was really thick. I don't know how the colour managed to change from a lovely, and yes soft, pink to a really weird blueish-in-some-places-pinkish-in-others-and-no-real-colour-at-all-in-between. But it did. And after looking at it for a few weeks (and a hard day of gardening in the allotment garden) I used it and decided that it wasn't a miserable failure after all. It was a nice size, it smelled lovely, it had a nice lather and the Poppy seeds gave it just the perfect scrub without being too rough. Just perfectly natural and slightly irregular like the life I live, the vegetables I grow and the raised beds that I built.