November 5, 2013

We've Moved

We've moved over to Wordpress, here's the link so you can pick up where you left off.  I think there are some improvements you'll like. You can easily check the Events calendar to see which shows and markets are coming up-by clicking on an event you can even see a small map. Blog, Events and Shop are all integrated as well, aaaaand you can check out my Facebook very easily by clicking on the left column where it says "Find Us On Facebook." See ya  there!

New Blog and Shop (

October 31, 2013

Just A Little Teaser

Hey friends! Tierra Verde Handmade Soaps will be in Lamesa on December 7th for the Homespun Artisan Showcase featuring craftsmen from surrounding areas-there will be artwork,jewelry, pottery, handmade soaps, housewares, woodwork and gifts. These works were hand selected to ensure that you won't see a lot of the same thing from one booth to the next. I think it will be so much fun...more details soon.

October 22, 2013

To Market, To Market...To Buy Some Great Soap, And Jewelry, And Quilts, And Wreaths, And.....

So, I haven't worked a market in a veerrry long time, but I'm planning to start getting in on the action beginning with the Backyard Boutique in November. I'm very excited to be included amongst such great craftspeople and artists, and if you are looking to buy local  AND handmade for Christmas-this is a great option.

I will have plenty of soap,but there will be so much more-handmade jewelry, wreaths, hand sewn maxi skirts, childrens items, photography art,refinished furniture AND baked goods ya'll.

October 17, 2013

The Slooowness Of Change

Orange Honey Drizzle with Oats/3.75oz. Round $6.50

In the name of working smarter on my business I have been working on getting my website up and fully functioning. For over a year now my website has merely been forwarding customers over to my Etsy shop and thus not being utilized to it's fullest. As part of the changes that are being  put into place I am moving away from Etsy and over to a dedicated website since I've been in essence paying for a domain and not utilizing it to it's fullest extent. The move is going slowly as there is php to wade through, new images to take, copy to "freshen up" and lots of little details to tend to, however in the end I think it will be a wise move. I'm moving over to Wordpress where I can incorporate my website, blog and calendar all under one domain.

I'm working on finding a "feel" for my images that I am happy with for now. I had the Mr. move a heavy piece of furniture into the kitchen so I could make use of the beautiful warm Fall light that filters in each evening-he thinks I'm crazy,but it's all in the name of nice images with that certain feel. I think I'm going in the right direction. The light was a bit past where the "golden hour" here for this image, but still there's something about it.

October 16, 2013

Frankincense and Myrrh

 Frankincense and Myrrh

Frankincense and Myrrh will darken to a much deeper brown-ready for market in November

So, this was purely experimental a blend of  Frankincense and Myrrh that is an eo/fo with resins. I don't usually soap with fo's at all, but authentic Frankincense and Myrrh are just a bit spendy for my pocketbook and I really wanted to try to get something close for the Christmas Holiday. I found this blend to be very nice with definite notes of  the holy incense. The soap will darken quite a bit over the next few days and the scent is reminiscent of church pews,old paper,Midnight Mass, along with a wisp of holy resins and incense.

October 12, 2013

Just A Bit Of This And That

Olive Oil and Goat's Milk new chunky bar with texture...

I've been working for some time on a new bar size and shape. I think I'm getting very close to what I'm after. Soon, these lovely chunky textured bars will come in new colors and scents, and for those of you who prefer the rounds have no fear there will be a variety of "Naturals" that come in rounds.

I've been working very hard on things on the business end. I got lots of good advice from the soaping community in regards to embracing my weak area that is the business side of things. I have taken a close look at my pricing and have re-vamped it accordingly, I am in the midst of re-working my website,blog etc. to show these changes and to be more cost effective, I am doing just as I did when I first started making soap-reading all I can get my hands on, figuring, calculating, learning,changing this and that, all while making soap each day to get ready for two up and coming shows. One will be here in Lubbock and one in the Lamesa area.(more details closer to the time of these events.) I have made some real strides towards getting a handle on the business workings  that I thought I wasn't "smart enough" to take on. Admittedly, I don't have all the answers, and expect to fumble and fall on occasion, but I'm making HUGE strides and just want to give it every chance to be a success.

October 10, 2013

Heroes For Horses

 Up for auction-2 handcrafted shave soaps with handcrafted (hand turned by us) Black Walnut shave brush featuring a 26mm Silvertip Badger shave knot-other items up for auction include candles, jewelry, beautifully crafted leather cuffs,photography sessions,Texas Tech themed jewelry, a 6 month VIP pass to Freedom Fitness, IPL Facial Treatment from the Facial and Aesthetic Center of Lubbock,Runway Fashion Exchange has donated gift certificates for clothing-looks like this will be the place to be...

If you're local and you have a heart for horses (and our community) there's a way you can make a difference. Friday October 18, 2013 is the First Annual "Heroes for Horses" fundraiser out at Bryan's Rustic Sophistication (141st and Slide Road) The evening will be a festive evening of  food,fellowship, and fundraising with a raffle and silent auction. All proceeds go to further the mission of Easy R Equine Rescue to rescue and rehabilitate abused, neglected and displaced horses, and to use the horses to reach out to youth and families in the community. 

This is going to be a fun evening that you won't want to miss and a chance to make a real and meaningful difference.  Get your tickets now- "Heroes for Horses"  by clicking on the link you will also see that there are many ways to help out Easy R Equine-such as donating through Paypal, going to Amazon and purchasing than item from the Easy R Equine wishlist to help "stock the barn" or selling items on Craigslist and Ebay and donating a portion of sales. Also needed are art supplies and craft supplies for the Horseplay groups.

October 2, 2013

Fallness (Is That A Word?)

Orange Clove and Coffee soap-You Betcha!

I've been working on lots of Chef (Coffee Soap) and some Orange Clove too, my house smells amazing. Yum! I love how Coffee soap turns that deep dark brown like a fresh brewed cup of rich dark coffee, and paired with sunny bright orange-oh yeah! I love how the colors not only compliment each other, but the aromas of Orange, Clove and Cinnamon remind me of bountiful

September 25, 2013

That's A Wrap

I spent a good part of the day yesterday printing and wrapping soap for a nice wholesale order that graciously took a big part of my inventory off of my hands. Some might call that wonderful timing, I call it AMAZING GRACE. How great it feels to have a few $$ coming my way, and to be able to begin making new product all over again. What a blessing!!

September 24, 2013

Lavender Flower

The second Lavender prototype-I think it's just right. The purple is a perfect shade of Lavender which seems fitting since I had Lavender Flower in mind for it's name. Picture a gentle breeze softly stirring a hint of Lavender into the air on a late summer's eve. Oh yeah!

September 22, 2013

Still At It

So, since I have previously committed to a show right before Christmas (a show I am very happy to be participating in.) I decided to  hang on a bit longer and see how things go. I've been in the process of working up an actual line instead of the hodge podge of goodies I have strewn all about. Organization and efficiency are going to have to be part of the quotient now. Anyway, this is a prototype of a Lavender number I am working on that I am hoping will be part of my line.

September 16, 2013

Soul Searching

Recently, I had a meeting at which I was a rather unwilling participant with an advisor of sorts. He told me that based on my numbers I should just consider making soap only when my family needs it. He seemed to think that making soap was too labor intensive for an "individual"to make any real money at it. He then stated he didn't think even a couple of people could make a substantial living at soap. Now, I know this to be an inaccurate statement, obviously, I don't know the exact figures for the soapmakers I know that make an abundant living,but I know it's possible. I know abundance is a relative term too. What is abundant to me is not abundance to someone else. My definition would be having enough to contribute to the needs and comfort of my family and have extra to help make a difference within my community-my business plan has this already worked in.  This person was unfamiliar with the process of making soap or it's potential. He did have access to my figures which are dismal by most accounts I'll admit. I've thought about throwing in the towel many times over the years, so this isn't the first time. I was pretty devastated to have someone just put it out there like that. I sat there in that room with him and couldn't even respond-I was just frozen.  I could hear my mother's voice in my head responding to the various ideas of what " I wanted to be when I grow up"  her stoic reply was always certain to be"you'll never make any money doing that." I left the meeting angry and devastated. This person doesn't have any idea of how I've worked to learn soapmaking, how it's been like a serenade to my soul, how it's been  like a lifeline over the past few years-a constant in my life in the midst of turmoil. I would also like at add there have been many things I've tried over the years and gave up on because they were too hard or I couldn't do a perfect job so I gave up. I would like to point out I haven't given up on soap yet. Grant you, it's not important like curing cancer, I'm not sure what it's significance is to society, but it matters to me.

I wonder why it's easier for someone to tell you to go get an unfulfilling " minimum wage part time job" than to say "what would you need to do to make your business a success?" What support do you need?  Why is it that people think you only have the ability to work a "minimum wage part time job" and not to learn the "business aspect" of what you are already doing? In all fairness, I have been sort of stumbling along in that area,but I could learn it-we all have that potential and capability.

I know I'm perhaps a bit of a dreamer, and while I have seen myself as an artisan of handmade soap I haven't really seen myself as a "business person." I've been terrified of that part, and made lots of excuses as to why I couldn't do it. I allowed that to be a part of my "self identity" I am an artist, but not a "business person." Now, while I'm still stinging over someone just putting my downfall out there like that, my new school of looking at "problems" has taught me to look at "What is good about this problem?" Did you know the only persons who don't have problems are those 6ft. under? Did you know that in fact there is always something good to be found in the thick of any problem?What's good about being told to "put your soap molds out to pasture" you ask? It's caused me to take a hard look at where I want to go, it's caused me to up my resolve, it's  helped me see I need to work harder at grasping the "business side" of things.  Seems like such a juxtaposition that there is good to be found in every bad situation, but it's true.  Clearly, the answer is I must find a way to tackle my fear of the "business" side in order to be successful. I must weigh whether or not soapmaking is something I want to keep in my life or let go of and in order to keep it I MUST learn how to run a business. I must "Focus on where I want to go and not on what I fear." I know the answer deep inside, I'm just not quite sure how to go about it all, but I know it's come to the point that I either figure it out or set aside my molds and move on....

September 15, 2013

Something Old, Something New

A new take on an old soap from a few years ago. Tree Hugger- an arborial delight scented with the fresh, clean scent of Fir Needle. 

Breaking in the new log splitter on a small tester slab. A big ol piece of equipment that does an amazing job of splitting up a slab. Love! I wrangled the Mr. into splitting the logs so I could snap a pic. lol!

The end results of the new and improved Tree Hugger.I'm experimenting a bit with a new bar size too.  I used the hanger swirl technique from Erin's book "Soapmaking Made Easy," and I'm pretty darn happy with the results.  Thanks Erin!

I finally got around to breaking in the new log splitter. I've had it for about a month and haven't gotten a real chance to use it  yet. I will still be offering rounds, but have decided to move over to a slab because I feel it offers so much more opportunity for textures and color work. I am experimenting with bar size and think that the bars above are just about where I want them. 

I also tried a technique from Erin's new ebook "Soapmaking Made Easy" and I think it came out really well. While I've been making soap for several years, I  haven't done a lot of color work until just lately. I did use clays and herbs, but I didn't so much attempt techniques really. Her book makes it very easy to try a few new things. I'm already rarin' to try the next technique on my list.

September 14, 2013

Saturday Afternoon Soaping

I spent this afternoon working on a soap using a technique from "Soapmaking Made Easy. " This is actually my second try, the first one got a bit too thick on me before I could actually try to hanger swirl. This is take 2 of the hanger swirl technique from Erin's book. I feel like this one went much better-I upped my water to 25% and found it worked well for me. I think I got some movement down in there, and I'm very happy with the colors and textured top. I'm hoping for this to be an updated version of a soap from a few years back-Tree Hugger with swirls of green, brown and white and scented with Fir Needle.

September 10, 2013

"Soapmaking Made Easy" - A Reveiw

Recently, I had the honor of previewing the soon to be released "Soapmaking Made Easy-A Comprehensive Guide to Making Cold Process Soap" an eBook written by my friend Erin (of Inner Earth Soaps fame.) I can't even begin to tell you how thrilled I was to check it out. Erin has long been one of my muses in the soapmaking world, and is quite known for her beautiful color combinations, gorgeous textured tops and her clean technique. I can remember when I first started making soap going to her blog almost daily just to marvel at her work. I guess I thought I might learn by osmosis or something, but now she is sharing many of her tried and true techniques with us as well as information on safety, formulas, oil properties, colorants, additives, suppliers and more.

Erin is known for her beautiful color combinations, gorgeous textured tops and her clean technique.

I found Erin's book to be very thorough and to have great information for both the new soapmaker as well as the more experienced soapmaker. New soapmakers will find important information they should know about before they even pick up a stick blender; such as the three different categories of soap (though the main focus is Cold Process), safety precautions (how to handle lye), oil properties, trusted formulas, how to create your own formulas based on the properties you want in your soap, how to tell when your soap is at trace, what "gel" is, how to rebatch and much more...

The beautiful cover

Erin even takes new soapmakers on a virtual soapmaking session where you will learn step by step what "trace" actually looks like, when to add scent and additives, what gel looks like and even how to cut soap you made only hours before.

 Raw soap a few minutes after adding lye solution starting to turn opaque

 Pouring the soap

Cutting the bars

Throughout the book, Erin gives tips and reminders that only a seasoned soapmaker would know, but a new soapmaker should take notice to. Her tips and reminders are invaluable morsels of experience. This example is very basic, but among one of the most important.

"Reminder-Only do one thing at a time. Cooking and making soap together do Not make a good combination."

While it seems like a pretty tongue in cheek sort of reminder-it is very important that you have a calm quiet area to work in. Multitasking is not recommended while attempting to use lye.
For the more advanced soapmakers Erin graciously unlocks the secrets behind several of her techniques (this is the moment I've been waiting for-somebody pinch me.) Erin gives step by step tutorials for techniques such as even layering, messy layering, hanger swirls, in the pot swirls, decorative textured tops and more. Woot with me now!

Messy Layering Technique - Spooning on the layers

Messy Layering- finished bars

To sum it all up, I would highly recommend Erin's eBook for beginners, as well as more experienced soapmakers who want to expand their repertoire of techniques and learn something new from someone with a vast knowledge of soapmaking technique. Look for Erin’s eBook "Soapmaking Made Easy-A Comprehensive Guide to Making Cold Process Soap" to go live Thursday September 12, 2013-for free tutorials and to get your hands on her eBook be sure to sign up for her mailing list.

Pick up your "Soapmaking Made Easy" ebook here.

September 8, 2013

Date Night Memories

Hollyhocks with sun coming from behind.

Hollyhock up close and personal-beautiful.

Sunflower in a perfect light.

Purple Fountain Grass in the evening sun.

So, one of the advantages to having one child leave the nest and the other one up old enough to spend time with friends is the resurrection of "date night." You remember that don't  you? The time before kids when you could go out for a meal together, have a conversation and just breathe for a moment. A couple of weeks ago the youngest was gone for the evening and so  we headed out for an impromptu date night, because this was last minute there really wasn't time to plan for too much. The evening was beautiful, so we decided to check out some of my photography haunts(my husband is such a trooper and very graciously indulges me once in awhile) and once it was too dark for pics we whipped up a lovely Frittata with bacon, roasted Hatch green chilies and plenty of sharp cheddar. Yep, it was an evening to remember.

September 5, 2013

What I've Been Up To Lately

 My project for the day  yesterday was getting some soaps stamped for my upcoming wholesale account.

I also have another batch or two of soap yet to make before the order is complete-this is a little floral goodie that is always a bit challenging to see if  I can race to get the swirl in before it sets up to much.

I'm still having so much fun exploring color.  I can totally see what the appeal is and can't believe I was so resistant to it for so long. The soap above is a bit of Ultramarine Pink that looks a bit more towards the Lilac really. Ultramarine Pink  is not quite a true pink (although if I had used more it would be more pink), but either way it sure is pretty. Quite subdued in comparison to the Ultramarine Purple in the top image. The top is an Ultramarine Purple that I am totally in love with-it looks great every time. I find that Ultramarines are easy to use too although the Ultramarine Purple above is not water soluble while the rest of them that I have are.

August 31, 2013

A New LIttle Lemon Number

I'm working on a fun little wholesale acct. and I came up with a fun little tone on tone Lemon number. I used Annatto to get the darker yellow and the eo's created the paler yellow. I am loving the subtle tone on tone they created together. As of now the Lemon soap is a soap with no name-I'm looking for something having to do with nature and not a foodie name-any ideas would be much appreciated. the scent is definitely tart lemon as of now-I think it will settle out into something not quite as tart.

August 21, 2013

Here Comes The Sun

This morning I was up before the sun getting my walk in, and thinking about the soap I'll be making today. It's a great day for  making soap!!

August 18, 2013

The Threee Faces Of Paprika

Here are the results of my three Paprika experiments.

1) (Far Left) A bit of Paprika added to lye water gave me a muddy pumpkin pie type color that was okay, but not what I was looking for.

2) (Center)  Infused Paprika used at 100% of my OO. Very orange and bleeds actually much less than I thought it would, but does bleed slightly with very pale orange bubbles. (not a look I am going for)

3) (Far Right) Dialed back percentage per my batch and hoping it doesn't bleed. Honestly, I was loving the color pre gel-the perfect "happy orange" but was really expecting the more sweet potato coppery orange post gel. The disappointing thing is that this batch bleeds also meaning I will need to dial back even more. Apparently Paprika is potent stuff and a little goes a long way, so for me this means one more adjustment to achieve an orange that doesn't bleed.

August 15, 2013


So, as a rule I despise having my picture taken. I loathe it and avoid it at ALL costs. Today I got a wild hair and decided to let the dear daughter take some with my phone-you know for profile pictures and stuff and lo and behold she took a few that were actually quite good. So, for those of you who wonder what I look like-here ya go.

I think that this is a really good exercise for me because it is so incredibly uncomfortable for me. It hasn't always been, in the days before a few pounds and jowls, but now in general I go to great lengths to avoid having my picture taken. I'm trying to make peace with it and well, filters help. I'm really trying to wrap my brain around being curvaceous and not the thin gal of my youth. I'm trying to embrace a few wrinkles,extra chins, gray hair, and a changing body.

August 14, 2013

The PERFECT Orange

 Alas after much trial and error-The PERFECT orange.

After one more try, I think I've finally gotten to the right color. I have a sneaking suspicion that the Orange Clove 2.0 (from yesterday) will most likely bleed the color is just so saturated, and I think I'm even happier with this color.

It's important for the customer to see the effort that goes into researching and developing a product-it's not typically about just throwing a color in and hoping for the best. A lot of trial and error goes into getting color, technique and scent just right. It's about knowing what scents will accelerate your batch,what colorants are safe and friendly, preventing bleed,formula-so many factors play into a proper soap. It's safe to say a lot of care goes into a batch to ensure that the customer has a good experience with our product.

I guess some of you may be wondering where I am going with all of this. I am in the throws of developing a good solid line. Over the years I've spent much time self sabotaging my efforts(with the help of a couple of friends too), in the past I've had a consistent nagging that kept me from following through with things for one reason for another. I've been doing some work on that persistent and nagging negative voice, and now I'm getting ready for my debut. I am getting ready to take on the world. I have always been driven to equal some of my soaping heroines, and now I'm ready to "just do it." I'm on my way. I have a plan and I'm moving forward. These crazy experiments are not just because I'm killing time here. I'm ready to get out there.

August 13, 2013

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends....

 Paprika infusion after stick blending a bit, this usually tends to modify the color some as the lye is integrated into the batch-excuse the tungsten lighting(ugh!)

 Eureka! The color I've been after. I am over the moon to finally get this color-now if there is no bleeding my life will be complete-or close to it. lol! Orange Clove 2.0

I've been on a mission to get a "happy orange" and finally with some  help from the very gracious soaping community, I think that I may have found exactly the color I've been looking for. If you've  been following along my " quest for orange"it all started here, with a sampling of Annatto seeds that ultimately led me down that path of THE most beautiful yellow. (although since all of this, I have learned a new technique(again thanks to input from one of my soaping buddies) to try that will hopefully result in a perfectly lovely peachy orange-I just haven't tried it yet.)

The willingness to help each other out IS one of the BEST qualities of the soapmaking community. So refreshing, the willingness to share and offer up suggestions. I would like to give a shout out to my friend over at Minis Seifen for her suggestion to try Paprika-Wow! It's just beautifully orange. 

August 10, 2013


Ethereal Lavender swirls I'm trying out for a soap I'm dreaming up. Behind the scenes some changes are taking place that I think will be all for the good. The changes will take place over quite awhile so nothing will seem sudden or drastic. I'm kind of on the universal timeline with some things...sometimes things just happen in their own time I guess.

August 9, 2013

One Of The Girls

One of the three amiga's taking her siesta.

August 8, 2013

Switiching Gears

 Beautiful Cactus-one of my favorite photography subjects.

 Sweet white star shaped flowers..I love them.

 Passion Flower-such a curiously strange looking flower.

Yellow Zinnia-bright and happy.

So, after my epic soaping disaster/blooper outtake. My daughter and I went to lunch and decided to not go straight home. We went by a little garden where I like to photograph whatever is blooming. I didn't have the good camera, so I whipped out the phone. Wow! I'm impressed-it does a pretty good job. We both took a number of pictures and it was fun to come home and compare. 

I was glad to hang out with my girl on her last few days of summer. :-)

August 7, 2013

Epic Disaster

It was a day like any other, the grams were playing one too little, one too much- just before settling on just right. The colors were lovely and behaving nicely, my daughter was home to help me pour two colors in unison and all was well...until I picked the pvc up to give it a tap,tap,tap and (someone who shall remain nameless in order to protect the not so innocent) had not secured the bottom. Oh dear! I could have cried, but instead I chose to mark this moment in time with a soapmaking blooper shot,and after a few pics I proceeded to pic up my epic mess to see what I could salvage. Lesson learned-double check the security of your bottom cap and then check again. In the end, the daughter and I had a huge guffaw over the whole incident and decided to call it a day and go to lunch. THE END.

A Change Of Heart

Raspberry, lemon yellow and the palest of greens...

Sea Foam, pale green, violet, lemon yellow with a splash of raspberry...

Violet, Sea Foam and the perfect pale green....a cool soothing palette

For years I've been resistant to color other than clays,herbs or oxides. I really wanted to keep my product as close to natural as possible, and so color has been a bit of a conflict. Upon returning from the Conference in May, I decided to give color a whirl and as you can see I have been having an amazing time with color. Oh my gosh! I am loving micas they are too much fun.

 I've also had somewhat of a change of heart in terms of my soapmaking. I think that perhaps I was putting too many parameters on what I thought my soap should be, and I was really squelching the joy that IS soapmaking. I was taking it all way too seriously-I'm so glad I decided to add a little color to my life-what fun! Making soap should be ALL about fun-if it's not... relax and try a little color.