I've had my little vacation thanks to the Twilight Saga (huge sigh) now back to work. I've started making soap again. My holiday sales were pretty good. Much better than expected, so now it's time to restock the shelves and start getting ready for Valentines Day. I know it's a bit early but it takes nearly 6 weeks for soap to cure, so I need to get started now.
I'm waiting for a shipment of fragrance oils, so I started with what I already have here.
Since I keep a journal of all everybatch of soap that I make, I like to sketch my soaps and plan out the entire process from start to finish before I start a batch. That's why it frustrates me so much when a batch doesn't turn out exactly the way I envisioned it in my head.
This batch, scented with Patchouli essential oil, turned out to be a pretty close match. Yay!
I'm terrible and I know it. I've been neglecting my blog. Why? Well after much persuasion from my sisters, I decided to pick up a book called Twilight. I'm sure many of you have heard of it. In fact, I'm sure there aren't too many of you who haven't. At any rate, Brandon and I were sitting in the Raleigh airport waiting for our flight to California by way of Newark for an ACN International Convention (WhooHoo!!, But, that's a story for another day). I knew we had a looong day ahead of us with 3 flights and 2 layovers, so of course I needed to get myself a book.
I've already read the Dan Browns Secret Symbol. Unfortunately, I haven't seen too many good reviews from my fellow Outlander fans about the most recent book so I settled on Twilight. I'm not a fan of horror movies or books. I don't even like vampires, but oh my goodness! I've been bitten. I LOVE this series. I couldn't put it down.
Even though we had a jam packed weekend at the convention, I still managed to get the book finished in time to purchase the next 2 books, New Moon and Eclipse, during the return trip home. I sped throught those then purchased the final book Breaking Dawn. It took me about a week to go through the entire saga. When I was done of course I had to see the movies THEN I started reading the books again. What's wrong with me?! I'm totally obsessed. Team Edward all the way!!!
This passage is from one of my favorite books: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. I keep a copy posted on the refrigerator so that I can read it when I'm working, cooking, etc. I find it to be very inspiring and it's a constant reminder for me to keep a positive mindset. Please enjoy :0)
This is really cool. I just found out this morning that I won a free giveaway from Vermilion Star Press.
The funny part is that I didn't intentionally enter the contest. A few days ago I watched the movie "7 Pound" starring Will Smith. His love interest in the movie had two antique printing press machines. They were just very cool. So then a few dayslater I came across this blog and right away it reminded me of the movie. It looked interesting, so I decided to follow. Apparently, I entered myself into a contest and won! What luck :o)
Right now I'm working on a wholesale order and these are two of the batches.
I can't wait to slice this one and see how my attempted swirls turned out.
This is an interesting batch. It's my first time using Alkanet Root Powder. Right now it's almost blue. I think it's pretty. But, apparently this is not the final color. As the ph balance of the soap changes, so will the color. Fingers crossed. It should end up purple or lavender. I hope it doesn't turn gray. That would not be very pretty.
As soon as I hear the loud rumble of a truck I get up and run to the window. I just checked the date on my computer and I know that I'm due to get a shipment tomorrow. Perhaps it's early. I get to the window, look outside and what do you suppose I see? Oh my! Can it be? YES! It's the FedEx truck and I just know it's for me. We've only been down here in North Carolina (shout out to B-more!) for about 3 months and already the delivery driver knows who I am. He brings me my box with the familiar logo of maroon branches, leaves and berries. I sign on the line, wish him a great day and then carry the newly arrived package to the counter. I placed the order so of course I already know what's inside, but still I tear into the box with the delight of a child on Christmas morning. Inside are my badly needed soaping supplies. I haven't made a batch in over a week!
I've been wanting to try a particular fragrance oil for a while and wouldn't you know, there was a sample of it inside too.
Still not right. I can't really figure out what I'm doing wrong. I just can't get these swirls to turn out the way that I want. Maybe I am just too picky, but this isn't doing it for me. I keep a journal of every batch of soap that I make so at least I know what not to do next time. I'll keep at it. One of these day's I'll get it right. At least it smells great.
Nana, my greatgrandmother taught my mother to crochet when she was a little girl and my mom of course taught my sister and I. Unfortunately, while my mom and sister can create intricate patterns for pochos, shawls, hats and such, I am sadly limited to blankets. I've been working on the same on for the last 8 years!!
It's great to see the things that other artist come up with. I really fell in love with the unique items that I saw in this particular etsy shop.
I've recently joined a new team on etsy called Out of the Box Sampler a.k.a. OOTBS. I've been working on what will be my contribution for the last two months. It's been alot of tedious work, but hopefully it'll all pay off in the long run.
One thing is for sure, it forced me to come up with some new creative ideas for packaging my soaps. There are so many talented artist contributing to the sample boxes each month and I really want my items to be able to hold their own.
I made these little boxes to put my soap samples in. My goal is for the person receiving the soap samples to feel like they are opening a present.
This scent has the perfect blend of spice warmth and sweetness. I know that I always say that my soaps smell good, but the reason is really no secret. Any soaper that purchases from Bramble Berry would most likely say the same about their soaps.
This frafrance is a blend of Myrrh and Orange, with middle notes of Ginger, Cinnamon and Cloves. It is then rounded out with Caraway Seed and Vanilla to give it a warm, tranquil feeling. "Tranquil" is actually the perfect word to describe this fragrance.
It still has a few more weeks to cure. It's brown, of course because of the vanilla content. I think the brown is beautiful. The bars have gotten darker since I took this picture.
I've finally gotten up the nerve to attempt swirls again using my Nizzy Mould. Although the Home for the Holidays a.k.a Sleigh Ride Soap turned out nice, the colors were way clumpier (is that a word?) than what I really had in mind for that batch.
I knew that I wanted to swirl the Applejack Peel using two colors but I didn't trust myself not to screw it up. This turned out much, much better. Still not quite as feathery as I wanted but still, much better. I can't wait to unmold them and see how they turned out. The swirls should be completely throughout each bar, but we shall see :D
Autumn is my absolute favorite time of the year. I love the colors and those beautiful Indian Summer days. It makes me think of Hot Apple Cider and Pumkin Pie :D This is a soap I recently made that was inspired by the coming season.
I'm a little old school. I pretty much feel that children are to eat what they are served. I don't force them to eat too many things though (except green vegetables, sorry). I keep meal request in mind but I do not take daily meal orders. You either eat the House Special or you don't eat at all.
The younger two are usually good about eating what I give them. My 8 yr, old, however, is Mr. Picky. Everything for him has to be plain. No blueberries in the waffles or raisins on the pancakes for him. He sniffs his food! If the pancakes don't smell exactly like they smelled yesterday, he is NOT touching them. If I add salt or butter to the grits, he know's it right away. Papaya in the fruit salad? No thank you. I do try to keep that in mind when I prepare meals though and simply take his portion out before adding the extras.
Cream of Wheat, Cream of Wheat, Cream of Wheat. For the past week my boys have been asking for Cream of Wheat for breakfast. No matter what I prepare for breakfast they (all 3) come to the kitchen asking "Mommy can we have Cream of Wheat today, pleeease". No one wants fresh fruit salad, peacan rolls or even cold cereal and I'll loose my mind if I hear "Oh, it's just pancakes" again.
Anyway, I get up Friday morning and prepare what else but Cream of Wheat. I set the bowls on the breakfast bar to cool and wait for the boys to come out. I'm expecting big smiles and "Thank you, mommy!" Instead I hear "Cream of wheeeat? Can't we have pancakes?", from the older 2 and a request for "hot dogs and baked beans pweeze mummy", from my 2 year old, lol. What's up with that?
I have been purching my fragrance oils from a supply company called Bramble Berry for the last 6 months or so and I haven't been disappointed with one yet. This one was no exception. This soap is made with calendula infused olive oil and generous amounts of cocoa butter and smells soooo good.
I'm so, so, so excited! I used my new Nizzy Mould today. I've been wanting to try my hand at some of the fancy color swirls that I've seen many soapers do. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the look that I wanted by using my loaf soap molds.
There are alot of really great slab molds out there. I've fallen in love with Terry Nisbet a.k.a. Nizzy and his products. I would encourage anyone to check him out. Nizzy is truly a soap artist. He is super sweet & kind and his moulds cost less (even with shipping cost from Australia!) than any of the slab molds I've found online in the states.
Anyway, I'm actually quite satisfied with the way the soap turned out. Not bad for my first time, IMO...
When I unmolded this soap, the room was full of "oooh's" and "aah's" as everyone came over to smell it. It really does smell good. I'm still trying to settle on a name for it though. The fragrance oil is called Sleigh Ride but I'm leaning more towards "Home for the Holidays". That's what it makes me think of. It's a very warm and comforting scent. The bars still have to cure for about 4-6 weeks, so I guess we'll have plenty of time to debate over a name, lol.
My Mom has lived on the beautiful island of Bermuda and I live in North Carolina, so I don't get to see her often and I miss her so much. I started trying coming up with some beachy-type fragrances that make me think of the beautiful azure waters and pink sands of Bermuda and, of course, my Mom.
I named this soap Achilles Bay after a beautiful beach in Bermuda. It's an upscale, spa like aquatic fragrance that really captures the essence of the sea, salty air and gently rolling waves.
I made this batch of soap using a new recipe. I used Olive Oil, Coconut Oil and Cocoa Butter as my base ingredients. Olive Oil is always a great base to use because it's mild. Coconut Oil increases lather and bubbles but can be very drying, which is why I normally don't use as much as I did in this batch. However, to offset the increased amount of Coconut Oil, I added even more Cocoa Butter for it's great moisturizing properties. Cocoa Butter also will help make the bar hard which will ultimately help soap last longer.
I then added Palm Oil (hardness & lather), Unrefined Shea Butter (more moisture!) and Castor Oil (for even more bubbles). Also new to my recipe is Tussah Noil Silk Fibre*. Silk Fibre adds a rich and silky feel to the lather which is suppose to feel really, really good in your skin.
I am extremely happy with the way these bars turned out. The high liquid oil content really gives the bars a nice smooth texture and they seem to have a slight sheen to them. Here's the best part: THEY SMELL GREAT!! The longer these bars cure, the better they smell. The scent of some fragrance oils morph in Cold Process soaps. In my opinion, this is one of them. But, in this case, that's a really good thing because I love this soap.
*The Tussah Noil Silk that we use in our soaps is made by wild Tussah Silk Worms when forming their cacoons and is hand harvested AFTER the Antheraea Pernyisilk Moth has emerged.
I have to say, I'm pretty excited about my new Blogger account. This is such a HUGE change from Typepad. I think Blogger is more user friendly. Posting and editing is a breeze and I've been having alot of fun checking out the different features offered.