June 29, 2013


 I love how this one looks like it's had ink dropped on it's petals

 My favorite

 They are just as pretty from underneath

 The white one's are so clean and bright

 In real life these are very tiny and have such beautiful contrast

Some Orchids have very specialized means to ensuring pollination buy luring insects into the cupped petals located at the bottom of the bloom.

One of my favorite places I visited while on my road trip was the local botanical garden. This expansive botanical garden had an Orchid room. While many of the Orchids were not in bloom, it was so worth being able to see the ones that were. In the past, I haven't been a big fan of Orchids-I've always thought they were a bit fussy actually, but I have to say that now I think that if I had a place for them I might turn into the "kooky orchid lady" with an expansive epiphyte collection. They are so varied in their color and sizes, and all so exquisite in form-some plants have more singular blooms and some have dramatic sprays of colorful blooms. 

June 28, 2013

Just A Quick Snippet

Just a quick snippet from my recent road trip. We just got in and it seemed like we drove forever. More road trip goodness as I am able to edit images, for now there is laundry to do and a hot shower with my name on it.

June 23, 2013

Better Late Than Never-Silicone Mold Making Re-Cap-Amanda Griffin

I originally wrote this post back in May upon returning from the 2013 Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild  Conference for the Soap Queen blog-somehow I believe it got lost in the post conference/new Bramble Baby shuffle on the Bramble Berry end,so while it's not exactly timely it's still great information and was very well presented. I don't give you the "full" instructions for making the molds, but merely an overview as Amanda Griffin does have a nice PDF for download on her website Lovin Soap.

Saturday was a day full of interesting sessions, one of which was a session by Amanda Griffin on how to make single cavity silicone molds. Amanda lives in Dallas, Texas and teaches soapmaking classes that include the basics of formulation as well as more advanced soapmaking techniques that include working with color, swirling and she’ll even teach you how to make your very own silicone molds.

Have you ever found a little ornament you thought would be the cutest soap, or wished you could make your soap into something more personal? Learning to make your own single cavity silicone molds offers you a wide range of new and interesting shapes for your soaps. Think about unique shapes such as -Buddhas, pine cones, cupcakes, fake food, grandma’s figurines, thrift store finds, and holiday themed items-the possibilities are endless.

Within the session Amanda explained the types of materials that were best suited for the use of making silicone molds. Pretty much anything goes, however your surface needs to be non-porous, if you find the item you’ve selected is porous be sure to seal it before making your mold.

You will also need to give thought as to how pliable you would want your mold to be for example; if you are making a slab or log mold you might want the walls to be more sturdy to hold in the larger amount of soap. Small single cavity molds will need to be more pliable to release your small irregular shaped item.

Amanda gave several examples of household items that can be used to make a mold box-the mold box holds the item you want to cast (and will ultimately become your mold); such as a pine cone, fake food item, nail polish, etc. She also explained that in order to make the proper amount of silicone you need to figure up the cubic inches within your mold box minus the space your item will take away-don’t be afraid there’s a calculator for that.

Amanda shows us how to make an easy mold box out of a cup and paper plate

 Pouring silicone from up high reduces bubbles

One great option for pourable silicone is an all inclusive kit  from Bramble Berry that includes Part A and Part B with complete e- book  instructions written by Amanda Griffin. This kit is perfect for making fun single cavity molds.

Silicone slab/log molds make soapmaking so much easier as they solve the huge problem of getting your soap to release without the headache of all that pushing, tugging and destruction of your soap-saving you time and money. Making your own mold is a great solution to the costly expense of purchasing a ready made mold and if you want a very specific size it is the best option. Amanda showed us how she made her very own slab mold from just a few pieces of melamine (as her mold box) from the local hardware store and pourable silicone. Yes, a new slab/log mold is really just a DIY project away.

 For a more complete re-cap of Conference sessions check out the Soap Queen Archives here.

June 22, 2013

I've Got The Blues

Originally I was shooting for a deep purple, and in the beginning things looked promising

After the gel-while the pic looks very blue-irl there is a tint of purple

but still it's more blue, and still it's very pretty too...

On Thursday, I got some new pigments from Bramble Berry   ,and yesterday I had to play. Yay! for new colors. I set out originally to do a deep purple that was suggested on the Bramble Berry website-by mixing Ultramarine Blue with the Ultramarine Violet-at first I thought I might have gotten close,but as the gel progressed I could see there was NOT going to be a deep purple at all however, it is a blue with a tint of purple(the purple is a bit more apparent irl.) I'm guessing I underestimated the potency of Ultramarine Blue. I still love the outcome, but apparently I could use a crash course in remedial color theory 101. Oh well! it was fun trying. ;-))

June 21, 2013

Grinning From Ear To Ear

Recently, a customer  purchased a shave brush like the one above for her husband along with a few shave soaps and a couple of soaps for herself. Today, she sent this lovely feedback and I'm grinning from ear to ear.
"Hi There~ Your package of loveliness arrived yesterday!! My husband got the mail and said "WOW, the mailbox smells amazing"!! He absolutely loves the shave brush and soaps. We found an old bowl that belonged to his parents and will work perfectly for the soap. He is very talented in metal/wood working and has already designed a stand to hold the brush and bowl as a wall mount. I will send you a picture of it once it's in place. I wouldn't be surprised if it's by next week. He is VERY excited about his new toys. As an added note, the soaps I purchased for myself smell heavenly!! The box the products were shipped in smells so nice that I put it in my guest room closet. Thank you so much for such a wonderful, quality product!!!!"

June 17, 2013

For Today's Momunemtal Mess...

 My thrown together practice slab, does the job! If you're new to soapmaking-don't be put off by thinking you need a fancy mold, just throw one together and get after it, and yes, you can line with plastic.


So, the Mister threw me together a rough practice slab. Can you believe I have been soaping since 2008 and have never owned a proper slab, or any slab for that matter? I wanted to see what I could do with one. I have some ideas that require a different shape bar plus lots of texture.

Anyway, on to the part about the monumental mess-well, I made one today-a big one. I'm not sure how one can use so many utensils, buckets, colorants, essential oils etc,but I manage to do it. I actually really like order,but you wouldn't know it if you could see my kitchen right now. Yikes!

This batch is a creamy white top with a black underlay (and perhaps some movement in between-unless is was obliterated by the fact I had a hard time wielding a bucket and pouring in a precise manner-this could have helped or hindered the situation-we'll see.)Scented with a blend of Lavender and Anise, and sprinkled with a few crushed lavender buds. A bit of purple would have been nice-but no purple. ( I do have some on the way though-so maybe soon.)

Oh well,I've put off kitchen clean up for as long as I could-for some reason people think they need to eat-off to clean up the monumental mess-stay tuned to see what mess I make tomorrow. lol!

June 16, 2013

Vintage Tart Tin Love!

 Sweet vintage tart tins-love!

Vintage tart tin with sweet rose buds...

So, I ordered this set of 15 vintage tart tins on Thus. and by Sat. they were in my possession-thanks to warp speed shipping of the Etsy vendor. They are so perfect in every way-they are 3" across at the top(not as ginormous as the pic looks-lol!), they have a slight patina and they even came in the original box!!! Love them!! I have a purpose in mind for them,and they will be just perfect!!

June 15, 2013

Doesn't Everyone Make Soap On Friday Night?


Sometimes I get an idea in my head and well, I have to see it through?  So, last night at 9:00 I was digging out the soaping paraphernalia so that I could make a batch I had a vision for. My husband just rolled his eyes wondering why it was so urgent at 9:00p.m. on Friday evening-gee, you'd think he'd be used to it by now. lol!

Ambrosia-noun: something extremely pleasing to taste or smell 

Ambrosia-a blend of exotic Blood Orange with a gentle lashing of Dark Patchouli to help it stick- a beautiful exotic yet mellow blend.

June 10, 2013



For today's batch, I was inspired by one of my favorite flowers... the Sunflower. Not far from my house in the late of summer the Sunflower fields are majestic-as far as the eye can see the Sunflowers hang their heavy heads while bees busily buzz from flower to flower.

Beautiful mossy green stems and leaves, cheerful gold petals,and a deep brown center.  I always thought that if a Sunflower had a pleasing scent it might smell like Lemongrass with a hint of Dark Patchouli...

I think I'll probably do some tweaking with things,but the idea is there and I'm liking the Sunflower "rough draft." They smell fantabulous too!

June 6, 2013


"Tranquil" (and yes, that's a bit of silver mica you see on top)

Just cut (and Oops! not cleaned up yet) I was a bit worried the blue might bleed upon use- I tested a bar and no bleeding...Yay!

An eo blend of Rosemary,Peppermint, Cedar and Lemon (actually a re-make of a blend I did a week or so ago in yellow and white, because I thought blue was more fitting). Tranquil is my "dupe" of a  popular Bath and Body Works Aromatherapy Stress Relief scent-it's not spot on or anything but definitely resembles the fresh aroma and will remind you of it for sure. 

June 5, 2013


I am loving this strikingly "Mansome" Etsy treasury today. Woot!!

'Mansome' by BrownBooks

Panda Bear Hat Art Print, Ti...

Grandpa's Whiskers Comb ...

70% off Shop Closing Sale Vi...

Dust Shaker Whisker Wax

Silver Comb & Footed Tray

Muscle Man and His Mustache ...

Man Bath Salts Detox Mens Gi...

Handcrafted Black Walnut Sha...

Antique Sepia Tone Real Phot...

Mens Shaving Soap Kit Set : ...

BEER RHASSOUL Shampoo Bar - ...

Mourning sweetheart ring in ...

Mr. Mustachio - Soothing Sha...

Pears Soap ad man shaving 18...

Razor Handle, Ivory Acrylic,...

Mens Shaving Soap Real Green...

June 2, 2013

I Heart Soap

  Fresh Fir Needle

Look - "I heart soap"

Just playing-breaking some of my self imposed (anal)rules and what do you know...it was fun! For whatever reason I tend to be a bit of an uptight soaper- I take temps, I scrape every last bit of soap out of the bucket,I ponder over emulsification and trace, what colorants to use, what eo blend works with what colors...but then I got to watching other soapers (the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild Conference is a great place to observe other soapmakers in action) and realized that they just seem to fly by the seat of their pants. They make fabulous soap and yet it isn't a huge production with all kinds of pondering on the process. Hmmmm, I think I might need to pay heed  to that lesson-how about you?  What kind of soaper are you-it's all about fun and playing with scent and color-or very serious and calculating?

More Summer Goodness

Eucalyptus,Spearmint and Bergamot...

Testing more summer blends. I always think summer blends should be fresh and light to help combat the warm sticky days of working and playing outside. Blends with Eucalyptus,Lavender, Orange and Mint are perfect for those three digit days ahead.

June 1, 2013

Lavender Orange-Mmmmm

Lavender Orange before gel-such a lovely shade of pale orange

 Lavender Orange after gel-not quite as orange,but still very pretty.

Mmmmm, the orange is much more subtle now and the lavender is toned down-smells so nice.

Well, as expected the orange is even lighter after gel. Like most of us, I wish color was more dependable,but it is what it is. This was a clay, and so it's to be expected really. Still I think they are beautiful and they smell very nice so that's what counts.