July 28, 2013

Hello Handsome!

Hello handsome!

The Mister recently made some shave brushes for a custom order, and sometimes the wood reveals a surprise inside. Now, some people might find this to be a flaw, but I consider it more of a "beauty mark." I love it, and think it gives this guy such a handsome character.  I have loved our adventure with wood, it's been an interesting lesson 1) the sticks of wood you start with are not a true indication of what's inside-the beauty is on the inside 2) Peeling away the outside layers, a little tlc and a nice polish brings out the innate beauty the wood had all along 3) what some might see as a small imperfection typically equals character, interest and beauty to a piece.

July 25, 2013

Presto Chango

 Presto Chango-I made a small packaging change. It was time to order more labels, and I thought I'd try white this time. My thinking was that the white might make things pop just a bit more. What do you think? I'm committed to these at least until I use them all, but was just wondering. ;-)

July 24, 2013

The Quest for Orange

Before gel

Once again a nice shade of buttery yellow-that I looove, but it's not orange..

 This is yet another try at Happy Orange with my Annatto infusion. You know Happy Orange, that sort of yellow orange pureed carrot color.. I am on a mission to get that color for a soap I have in mind. I know I've seen people get it with Annatto, however admittedly, I tend to be light handed with color so maybe the next try I'll nail it. I thought I had it this time for sure-or maybe I need to switch over to the powder so the color is not so diluted as in an infusion. Oy!

Yellow or Happy Orange? What do you think? The Mister says yellow, I say almost Happy Orange.. help solve the debate. or maybe it's just wishing on my part.. I do think I'm getting closer though-don't you?
The results are in...buttery yellow I'd say. So, either I'm still not using enough Annatto or I need to try the powder (maybe my infusion is too diluted to get orange) I am loving the yellow and think I will use it in another soap I have planned for sure. If you want the perfect buttery yellow-an Annatto infusion is the way to go.

Question to those of you who get orange with Annatto-what am I doing wrong? Is it because I am not using the powder? Heeeeeelp!! Okay, someone gave me the scoop on how they do it, so once my Annatto seeds get here-operation "happy orange" is on.

July 22, 2013

Color Splash

Fresh, clean Eucalyptus

Yet another new color that I purchased recently, this one is an oxide. I'm really liking it, I think  a splash of color really makes an ordinary batch of  Eucalyptus extra special. I am having so much fun playing with color. Playing with the new colors gives me a good idea how they will respond and exactly what color they really are in terms of cp.

July 21, 2013

Hand Balm Making

I spent the day today filling a somewhat generous order of hand balms. I don't really make them often and I had forgotten how much I love making them. I adore, and am somewhat addicted to the smell of beeswax. I love how it smells even better as it's slowly melting on the stove. I also love how hand balms are simple with just pure lovely ingredients that soothe and nurture your skin. I love the process of filling each small mold with the perfect gold elixir, letting them set and then popping them carefully out of their  molds, placing them in each cute little tin, cleaning the edges with care before applying lids-carefully labeling and then the final step of shrink wrapping each lovingly made little package. Ahhhh, so satisfying. 

I have 5 extra from a custom batch of Lemon Honey that I listed over on Etsy. Get them while they are hot... they won't last long.

July 17, 2013

Orange? Part Two

Yes, I know this is NOT orange, but it is the loveliest pale yellow ever. I think I have a crush on it. lol! As you know, I 've been on a quest for the perfect "happy orange" for a particular soap I have in mind. This was the first experimental batch with my Annatto infusion. I used it at a rate of 1% and instead got this perfect yellow-I know it's far from orange,but my what a beautiful color. Sometimes not getting the color you're after is part of the journey. I know there are a few factors here-I clearly need to up my dilution, my base is an inexpensive single oil base that is VERY white. Next time I will up the Annatto-going more by sight instead of percentage to see what happens. What rate of dilution do YOU use to get to "orange?"

July 15, 2013

Just A Small Batch

I just got in some new micas,and I'm experimenting with rate of usage. I tested one batch and completely lost the color, it seems different micas have a different rate at which they perform best-it pays to experiment a bit. This particular one is a bit darker in real life, pretty intense. I think it's one I'd like more as an accent than as the "body" of a soap-I think I would like it better if it were more pastel like perhaps. I'm looking for an "ocean" type color and I don't think this is it.

I love this little silicone mold from Bramble Berry it holds 1# of soap and being silicone the soap pops right out. Great mold for experimenting with new techniques and colors or for a small personal batch.

July 12, 2013

Soap Play

Do you ever play with your soap? I spent yesterday playing with an inexpensive single oil batch. I wanted to see what I could do with it. I swirled, wiped it away(like an etch a sketch) and re-swirled. I can't say I've ever really taken the time to do that. It's a really good exercise to learn the limits of soap even though as we know formula + additives will cause soap to behave differently in an unexpected way on occasion. It kept me entertained for the better part of 45 minutes - this was not a fast moving batch and I'm easily entertained. I worked it until it finally was too stiff to work and put it to bed.

July 9, 2013

Breaking In The Test Mold

Well, I couldn't stand it, I had to break in my new tester mold. What better batch to break it in with than a Olive Oil and Goat's Milk batch? Easy,simple and always in demand.

Originally, I was going to wait until some new mica colorants came in, but in the end I was pretty much having withdrawals. Feels so good to have made a batch of soap today.

July 7, 2013

My New Tester Mold

Little tester mold

Behold-my new tester slab mold. This little gem will make bars the actual size that I want to start making,but it's for a smallish batch so that I can see if an idea is workable before I make a larger batch. I like to do test runs often since I am reacquainting myself with color. Working with color has new challenges that I am working out the kinks on-so small batches are perfect. The plan is that this mold will be lined with mylar so that I won't have to cut paper each time.

July 6, 2013


Annatto Seed Infusion

Annatto Infusion 24 hours later-(after a good shake)much more orangeyb and less translucent

 I moved the infusion to a much smaller jar-don't you love this little mason jar-it's perfect!

I did a bit of asking around about the best way to get a nice happy orange. Orange is not an easy color to obtain if you don't use an artificial means. I have used Carrots in the past and gotten a very nice orange only to have it fade into a muddy darkish orange. I feel like most of the natural options will fade to some extent-that's just the nature of the beast I guess. Anyway, one of the examples I saw along my research journey was infused Annatto seed-it was a lovely happy orange, so I decided to give it whirl. Annatto Seed is often used in Mexican and Caribbean food to impart a rich yellow orange color-as a substitute for the pricey Saffron.

From what I understand the Annatto powder will give you speckles, so if you want to avoid those you need to infuse. I had a small sample of Annatto Seed from Bramble Berry so I'm going to check this whole thing out. I just started this infusion not even an hour ago at the time of this photograph and already I'm seeing results. My research turned up a 1% rate of usage if you are wanting to give this a try. Let me know how it works for you if you do, and I'll be reporting my results too.

July 4, 2013


 little pink ribbon

Pink-creamy beautiful deliciousness

Pink-soft,sweet,enveloping-there's something so sweetly comforting about it. Pink is always beautiful pale or hot. I've been playing a lot with texture I love how even with the tumultuous texture on the top of these soaps the pink is somehow creamy smooth and inviting.

July 2, 2013

Road Trip 2013 (Part 2)

The first thing that greets you upon exiting your vehicle is that unmistakable smell of the ocean, salty, somehow a bit sandy. It's funny how a familiar smell can take you right back to a specific memory-even one from many years ago. I love that smell-I wish I could bottle it up so that I could take it out whenever I wanted to visit those memories.

Watching Gulls is high on the list of entertainment while taking in the sights and sounds of the ocean.

Such a beautiful place-serene, yet an awesome reminder of natures power.

Man of Wars were far to abundant for our comfort-we never got in the ocean on this day-these will ruin your day fast.

Just a sampling of the abundant creatures that were washing ashore at a steady pace on one of the days we were there.Pictured above are the Man of War the very obvious blue creature in the front(check out that heap of tentacles up under that guy), the baby Man of War is on the left and just behind the large Man of War is a Sea Nettle.

South Padre is just right down the road(from Corpus Christi)-South Padre Island Drive to be exact, so we spent a bit of them there (seeing as how we are so land locked here in Lubbock-the beach is a definite must when we are down this way.) 

I'm always struck by how the smell of the ocean can take me right back to being 3 and 4 years old playing along the shores of the California coast. That salty,sandy aroma is unmistakable and one I wish I could bottle up strictly for visiting memory lane.

Just a few days before we were there Mexico experienced tropical storms + it was only days after the Super Moon, we think this may have contributed to the abundance of sea life washed up on the shore and lurking in the surf. 

We always like for our trips to be an educational opportunity for our daughter as well, so we set out to learn a bit about the creatures we were amongst. We learned they were mainly Moon Jellies, Sea Nettles and Man of Wars. Did you know that Man of Wars are also called "blue bottles?" Note the baby Man of War to the left-doesn't it look just like a blue bottle? I've always thought that Man of Wars were jelly fish-the fact is they are not. Man of  Wars are actually a conglomerate of 4 different organisms that create a symbiotic creature-each one serves an important function and one can not survive without the others.

July 1, 2013

Road Trip 2013 (Part 1)

Corpus Christi Skyline

Shrimp Boats

We spent and evening watching the Tug Boats bring in huge cargo ships

 The regal U.S. Coast Guard

Each insignia symbolizes a drug interdiction either for Marijuana or Cocaine

Taking the Colors down at sundown (U.S. Coast Guard)

Old Glory blowing in the breeze as the sun lowers in the sky

Because we always need to keep our road trips budget friendly we look for "free" things to do, or things at which we pay a one time entrance fee and try to visit several times ie; the beach.  The nice thing about Corpus Christi is that there ARE many things to do that are "free." For instance watching the Tug Boats steer the massive cargo ships in-(we don't see that here every day,) or a walk along the Bay, or a walk along the pier to check out the shrimp boats and yachts. 

We spent one evening walking along the piers (we did allow a snow cone in the budget-it was rather hot) and watching tug boats-a bonus was the U.S. Coast Guard ship that was moored close by-very cool. We were there right before sundown-so we also watched the Colors saluted, lowered and carefully folded. Makes your heart proud, as we approach the July Fourth Holiday I'm reminded of how lucky I am to be living in the "Home of the Free and the Brave" and what that means for all of us.