January 31, 2013

A Happy,Happy,Happy Accident

What are the chances that a blind swirl would come out heart shaped, and right before Valentines Day? I made this soap the other day and actually had extra white that I poured into the top of the mold. Unable to see the green, I blindly swirled hoping to get something beautiful out of it-but not really sure what things would look like. I un-molded the next day and forgot about it until the next day when I thought "well, I'll cut it just to see what it did." What A Fun Surprise! The hearts were not all the way through-there were only 5 rounds with these beautiful hearts on front and back. I offered the 5 rounds up to my Facebook friends and 3 sold immediately. How fun is that? I wish I had known they were going to be such lovely hearts-I would have planned for pink or something close to red. :-)

January 30, 2013

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not...

Anniversary flowers-it's been 22 years...

I think there have been times over 22 years when the Mr. has felt like-"he loves me, he loves me not." I mean it has been over 22 years since we met,tied the knot, and raised two kids (oh wait, we're still raising one.)

Coming from a fractured home I've never been really sure about how married people were supposed to work out differences-it seems that marriage is such a "disposable" commodity in this day and time. I can say with much certainty that 22 years with someone is a looooong time, there have been many, many good times, and many times of testing and doubt. There have been times when it seemed that the "grass may be greener on the other side" for both of us... but somewhere deep down we both knew that was just a mirage, a farce,  and most probably not reality. The great thing about 22 + years is that we do know we have what it takes to stick it out, we have each others back, we don't want to "date" again or break in a new significant other, we are truly "best friends",  we are very aware of each others flaws and gifts. We offset each other in a very interesting and workable way.  After 22 + years we have history-a bond that no one can ever obtain without doing the time.

Thank you so much for choosing to spend a quarter of a century with me dear-for two great kids, a roof over my head, good times,challenging times, fun times, great times, for loving me on my best days, and my worst days... I love you!

January 24, 2013

Soap Stamping 101

Tools you will need-a mallet,your stamp and SOAP of course

 Milky Way Stamps are hard-this means a crisp, clean image.-(sorry for the slightly blurry pic)

I like to mark where the top is-it's not as big of a deal on rounds as it is on bars,however I like to look at the round and find the best/most aesthetically pleasing placement- so it does help to know the top.

I've found that for this stamp I need to go a bit deep in order to get the details on the rose to show up

A nice clean stamped image

Stamps are a fun and easy way to add a special touch to your soap. I really like the Milky Way stamps-Bramble Berry carries a nice selection or you can even purchase them from Milky Way Molds. I found this Rose stamp on Etsy for a bit less than either supplier-so I snagged it. 

Supplies you will need-
Why do I prefer Milky Way stamps? They are made of a resin like material that is hard-unlike a rubber stamp. This means that the image is more crisp and clear, edges are more pristine and not smashed. I also like the tall wood block,they all come that way and it makes it very easy to whack the stamp+miss your hand. 

I like a mallet to whack at my stamp because it has more surface area. I feel more secure like I am less likely to hit my hand. A hammer can damage the wood block.

Depending on your formula it's best to wait 24 hours or so after cutting your soap, so that it's not too soft. Stamping soap that is too soft will lead you towards certain disastrous results-you will end up with smashed soap. Wait a day or two for your soap to be hard enough to accept the stamp, but don't wait too long-this can cause your soap to split. 

Start with a clean stamp,you can clean your stamp up with soap and  water-(a brush is handy to scrub the soap boogers out of crevices.) Make sure there is no soap from previous stamping sessions in any of the cavities or on the edge of your stamp.Clogged cavities will cause the details not to show up on your finished image or cause cruddy edges.

Line up your stamp. I like to eyeball the alignment, however if you're very conscientious you can measure and find center. Make sure you are considering the "big picture" when you look at the placement for your stamp. Is this the prettiest side of the soap? Will this hide something critical-a beautiful part of the swirl etc. Line up your stamp to the best of your ability, and keeping your fingers away from the striking zone give the wooden block several good whacks. If you notice that one side seems deeper set give the opposite side a good whack or two to offset and even out the stamped area.Once you are satisfied you are relatively even within the soap-(be sure you're happy with it at this point because it's pretty impossible to place the stamp in the exact same spot to give it another whack or two)carefully lift your stamp from the soap. If the outer edges are a bit boogered up smooth them carefully with your finger-and there you have it a beautifully executed stamped image.

January 23, 2013


I've been working on a little custom soap, custom as in a little something special-it will still have my label on it,so it's not really a "private label." I' ve been working on putting together all the components of color, scent and well a little something special with the stamp. Rounds are so very nice in terms of how they fit in the hand, but they present certain challenges. Rounds are not conducive to adding botanicals on top,too much color work-swirling layers, or texture etc. I had a ball thinking about how I could convey "rose" with this soap. The scent involves Geranium, so it has a "rose" like note. I really should have waited 24 hours or so before stamping, but this is a prototype and I wanted to see the look come together-I stamped a bit early. Overall, I think I'm very happy with the outcome-I hope my customer will be too!

For the colors I used clays and a bit of td-mostly because I was having trouble getting the white area to thicken up at the same rate as the pink part of my batch. 

January 22, 2013

Scratching My Winter Itch

I happened across this recipe today, and thought that I had to have it in my life NOW. I don't itch near as much as I used to before handmade soap,but frankly in the winter my skin could use some extra tlc. I whipped some up today (ahem, I just happen to have all of the ingredients lol!) I ground up some oats to a fine powder with my mocajete(yes, I prefer to grind them by hand(I'm just a dork like that), but a coffee grinder works very well too.) I melted my coconut oil in the microwave until just melted then added the olive oil, oats, a few drops of Rosemary, and a few drops of Lavender.The heavier bits of oats will settle to the bottom. I put it in the freezer to cool and once it had sort of solidified I had to dive in (of course.) I thought it might be a bit oily initially-but instead I found that it absorbs very nicely leaving my skin feeling like velvet + protected. I highly recommend you give it a try- your Eczema or winter skin will thank you.

Here's the recipe (in case you don't want to look it up)-

Eczema Cream

1/4 Cup of Oats-finely ground
3/4 Cup of Coconut Oil
1 Tbs. of Olive Oil
a few drops of Rosemary (optional)
a few drops of Lavender (optional)

Readers Digest Version Instructions-
Basically the directions are to melt the coconut oil,add the olive oil, oats and essential oils.
Let cool >>Easy Peasy!

If you want this to be extra luxurious and you love the scent of Coconut-pick up some Extra Virgin Coconut Oil-most health food stores carry it. Yum!

Please note: This recipe does not have a preservative in it-avoid introducing water via wet hands etc. Keep in mind Coconut oil tends to be melty at around 76 degrees F. Keep in a cool place. 

January 21, 2013

Mmmmm Mojito

"Mojito"-3.75oz. round-$5.50

Mmmmmmm, "Mojito"  sweet minty Spearmint melds perfectly with a refreshing splash of lime ( lime is from Bramble Berry-psst,did you know they carry essential oils now? I didn't know until just recently, I can tell you the Lime and Tea Tree are fab.) Cool, refreshing perfect for the Spring/Summer line up. These will be available for Spring/Summer market.

I couldn't help myself I was just drawn to working with a bit of color. Green comes from a wee bit of green oxide that I have had forever-I seldom use color if it's not a clay,but green is one of those colors that's hard to get otherwise. I wanted something that was whimsical and fresh, and this fits the bill with it's fun playful swirl in green and white.

January 15, 2013

Looking Back and Ahead

January is traditionally a month of reflection, a time to think about what hasn't worked, what did work, what one can do differently, goals achieved, goals that were epic fails. I've been thinking some about my soaping journey-about where the journey began and where it is now.

In the beginning it was like infatuation-you know that season of love where you can't get enough, and the object of your affection can do no wrong. I read everything I could get my hands on, frequented forums absorbing all the information I could from those who seemed to have already experienced the quirky nature of things that are soap. I spent lots of time troubleshooting-as things often seem to go awry during the Spring of learning the idiosyncrasies of what is soapmaking. I spent many nights into the wee hours admiring the beauty and grandeur of soap made by those I considered to be my muses. I remember thinking "if only I could make soap like that." I taught myself to make soap like that too-by deconstructing soaps I loved-after all there was no one to teach me, and my insatiable hunger to figure out the secret to such beauty possessed me.

I could swirl and work with color much more than I do, but at the very core of my love for soap is the process and connection to the beautiful ingredients.Over the years I've struggled with exactly where to fit in, in terms of my soaping style, what "sells" and where my values and pleasures lie. Colorful, swirly soaps sell, and that's a fact-they are after all visual "works of art." At one time I felt compelled to go with the majority because these works of art practically sell themselves, but over time I've found I am at my very happiest when I am able to just be with the process of combining beautiful oils with lye to create a chemical reaction that results in a deliciously luxurious handcrafted soap. I'm happiest when the warm aroma of Patchouli lingers lightly on my hands at the end of a day of making soap. I'm happiest when I cut the soap and lay them carefully out- or when I pick up a perfect round and take in it's earthy goodness.I get lost in the thought of how nature is truly "awesome" and how it offers it's essences for so many utilitarian uses. Nature is perfect and lovely and I'm so lucky to do what I do. I may never make a million dollars making my humble little soaps,but I'm happy.;-)

January 14, 2013

My Thoughts On Tea Tree

 Tea Tree Shave Rounds-3.75oz. $5.50

I recently ordered some Tea Tree to re-visit after not having any in stock for years now. I thought that it would be a "shaving soap" staple- you know a medicinal, antiseptic type scent that I equate with clean shaven + those in the know of Tea Tree's properties are drawn to it's clean nature. I like the scent,but perhaps a bit of Lavender would make it "sing" for me-so next time I think they'll have a touch of lavender.What do you think?

I just listed the Tea Tree only shave rounds for those hardcore "clean" shave folks.

January 11, 2013


'W A R M T H' by leeluandpiggy

explore... enjoy... and share!!

Cinnamon Sticks 5 x 7 fine a...

Handspun merino knitting yar...

Felt laying deer figure

spicy hot dress

PUMPKIN SOUFFLE - Eyeshadow ...

Horse watercolor painting Th...

Dark Chocolate Pumpkin and S...

orange bow ponytail

Hexagon shirt - BAÏSAP

Variations on a Theme Series...

Vintage 1970s men's came...

Vanilla Caramels

Orange Honey Drizzle with Oa...

Seamless Shiny Finish Copper...

33% OFF, Beach photo rocks g...

SALE - Spicy, Smoky and Swee...

January 6, 2013

A Freshhhh Batch

 Just cut! Rosemary Mint Herbal Shampoo Rounds 3.75oz. $5.50 (now taking pre-orders)

Just cut a new fresh batch of shampoo rounds. I haven't made shampoo bars/rounds in a long time. I've been using some from well over a year ago(and let me tell you the lather is quite extravagant.) I haven't really bothered with them in awhile, as it seemed the crowd here locally didn't really respond well to the idea of a "solid shampoo"- maybe they just couldn't wrap their brains around it yet. Oddly though, as of late there has been quite a buzz over them soooo they're back. I pondered on a nice blend and finally settled on Rosemary Mint-I love the idea of something herbally and fresh with a light invigorating tingle and that's just what I made. They are pretty much perfect in terms of a shampoo round imo with no outrageous ingredients, no color-just the good stuff. If you'd like you can pre-order each round will weigh in at a min. 3.75oz./$5.50.** Please note-these do have Peppermint in them-avoid contact with eyes.

If you haven't used solid shampoo before it is recommended that you follow up with a Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse-the following is a good blurb on rate usage and the benefits of an ACV rinse.

Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse

1 part apple cider vinegar
1 part water


To revive your hair to its days of smoothness, mix the apple cider vinegar and water together. After shampooing, pour the mixture into your hair. If you have a spray bottle, that works even better. That way you can spritz your hair with the mixture and massage it into your scalp. Let the apple cider vinegar concoction sit for a few minutes before rinsing fully with water. No need to use conditioner! The apple cider vinegar will leave hair feeling smooth and soft.