27 December 2009

Shout Out to Swansboro!

You know who you are. You live in or near Swansboro, NC and you really seem to enjoy browsing my site.  I have Google Analytics on my site to help me see from where my site traffic is, and I keep seeing Swansboro show up on the map and graph.  I don't mind; really, I'm glad you found my site and you keep checking back to see what's new.  I guess what always brings my attention to "Swansboro" on the North Carolina map at Google is, we have warm memories of that town and a big dream of living there one day.  I'd love for you to introduce yourself, either in a comment here or privately by email.  Thanks! :-)

03 December 2009

Here it is! The EPA Post-Show Special

What's the deal?  How about 10% off your total purchase and FREE shipping?  Pretty nice, huh?  What a great way to maybe buy a couple more stocking stuffers!  Or, perhaps you're looking at that one particular item and thinking, Ya know, my sister-in-law/admin/boss/office mate would love one of these, too, and I wish I'd gotten one.  Well, now's your chance!  I'll happily send you the coupon code.  You simply have to email me at sara@sarassoapsnsuch.com and tell me something about my set-up yesterday.  It could be my location, something about a vendor beside me, something near me or who was with me.  After all, you have to have been there to know this, and this is an exclusive offer for RTP EPA employees, contractors and the 200 people in the workshop yesterday.  I apologize for this extra step this year, but I still look forward to hearing from you! :-)

10 November 2009

Beer Soaps

I've talked about them for ages now, it seems, and I know everyone's waiting for a peek.  They are the beer soaps.  I first debuted them at Onslow Oktoberfest, held in Jacksonville a few weeks ago.  They didn't sell great, I'll confess.  We only sold three bars of them , but considering how slow traffic was that day, I can be satisfied with that.  Peter had made up a batch of soap using Guinness beer and scented with Green Irish Tweed, a delicious, totally yummy Creed dupe that smells like sexy man.  The soap was supposed to be cream with 2-tone green and bronze swirls, but it never went completely cream, instead fading out just to tan.  With the great scent and the unintentionally camo-inspired colors, I just knew that one would sell the best.  I even told Peter that when he fretted over the colors not turning out quite right.  Two of those three bars were of that soap.

While we were at Oktoberfest, people would see the sign for my beer soaps and laugh or turn their noses up.  "Ewww, who'd want to smell like beer?" they'd ask.  Well, one guy did; he specifically asked me if I carry beer-scented soaps.  Then those who'd get hooked by their own curiosity would head towards the display and pick one up to sniff.  Inevitably, they'd go straight for the Patchouli.  Patchouli is a "love it or hate it" fragrance, and the majority of people fall into that latter category.  Of course, from there they'd turn their noses up, put the soap back on the display, then walk on.  Those who dared to sniff the rest of my soaps would get hooked.  As I mentioned before, I sold two of the Green Irish Tweed and one of the Starry Night soaps (Starry Night is the blue one in the picture).

So what's the deal about the beer soaps?  First of all, they don't smell like beer.  By the time they get to usable bar form, all the beer smell is gone, leaving behind just the delicious fragrance I add to it.  So, what's the point?  The hops commonly used to give beer its distinctive flavor are used in herbalism for skin and hair care.  Infusions and extracts of hops help clear up dry skin and acne-prone skin.  In hair care, that same moisturizing property helps reduce the appearance of dandruff.  Bottom line, these soaps are fabulous!

Those soaps have a new, temporary home down in Southport.  There's a specialty shop down there called The Grape and Ale which specializes in wines and beer.  They offer wine tastings and themed arts by local artisans.  And currently, some of those themed arts include a soap display of my beer soaps.  Keep an eye on this blog for a picture of my display.

06 November 2009

What will the garbage man think?

Simply put, we're fanatical recyclers.  Everything from the usual milk jugs and aluminum cans to shampoo bottles, deli containers, styrofoam cups and buttery spread tubs...  If it's got that triangle on it, it's going in the recycle bin to be put out by the curb on trash day.  For some reason - maybe too many episodes of CSI? - I find myself wondering what someone would think if they went through our recyclables.  BoJangle's cup, deli salad container from Piggly Wiggly, 20-ounce Mountain Dew bottle, beer bottle, Everclear bottle, Suave For Kids conditioning shampoo...  Hold it!  Everclear bottle???  I mean, a beer bottle isn't that big a deal; many people drink beer (I just don't happen to be one of them).  But Everclear?  We're talking 190-proof, pure grain alcohol that's illegal in many states.  And yet, my husband doesn't drink more than the occasional glass of wine or rare beer, and I haven't drunk (drank?) any alcohol in at least a year.  So what in the world am I doing with a Corona bottle and an Everclear bottle in my recycle bin?

Why, to make soap, of course!  Yeah, I'm sure that's the FIRST thing people would think if they happened to catch me tossing an empty beer bottle into the recycle bin early this morning.  Uh huh... Riiiiiiight!  I'll be telling you more about these amazing soaps in more detail - complete with pictures, of course - in the coming days.  I can't say a whole lot about what I'm planning to do with that Corona that's currently going flat in the garage; it's too close to Christmas for that. 

I can tell you a bit about the Everclear, though.  I originally purchased this last year with the intent of making hand sanitizer and sinus relief stuff.  Hand sanitizer's a drug, so I had to stop production of that, and the sinus relief stuff was getting expensive with the amount of menthol crystals I was having to use, making it nearly cost-prohibitive.  So, for the better part of a year, this bottle has been sitting in my soap cabinet.  This morning I woke up, fed my baby, started my coffee, and while I was putting my breakfast together, I decided I wanted to try making transparent soap.  Yeah, just like that.  I grabbed my book and reviewed the directions and got started soon after breakfast.  Making transparent soap starts as a basic hot process method, but the addition of PGA helps the gelled soap become liquid once more.  I used all that I had left, which is why the bottle's now in my recycle bin.

11 October 2009

Save the Tatas! or The Tale of a Survivor

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Breast cancer claims so many lives each year, though new strides in treatments are saving lives that ten years ago might have been lost.  That doesn't mean this devastating disease has been eradicated, though.

As a breastfeeding mom, I have gone from seeing my breasts as men might, as something beautiful and sexual, to seeing them as God made them to be - beautiful and made to nurture a life.  I'm not saying the two have to be mutually exclusive, and I don't believe they are.  Now that our lives are getting into a better routine and our baby is sleeping up to 8 hours at a time, I'm able to see my breasts as all that they can be, not just one or the other.  Given that my breasts are made for both pleasure and nurturing, and this is something that only I as a woman and mother can claim, I can only imagine what happens in a woman's mind when she feels that lump and hears those dreaded words, "You have breast cancer."

It was 9 years ago today that I sat at what used to be Raleigh Community Hospital with my dad while Mom had a single mastectomy.  The lump was tiny, just the size of a pea, and the cancer wasn't far advanced; she caught it early.  I literally felt like I was going to fly apart at the seams - completely explode - when I heard the news.  Throughout the months of chemo and radiation, we shared tears and laughter.  Mom's hair grew back a lovely silver which she colored as soon as she was able.  As my older daughter turned about three and started noticing that her grandma only had one of which the rest of us had pairs, Mom decided to have reconstructive surgery, which brought with it laughter over comments that only my daughter would come up with like, "Grandma, your nipple's growing back in."

Mom's journey through cancer and its resultant treatments made me aware of how precious life is, especially hers.  At the age of 27, I wasn't ready to face life without my mom, and at the age of 51, she feared that she'd never get to see grandchildren.  In the nine years we've celebrated her survivorship, she's gotten to be grandma to two beautiful granddaughters, both of whom inherited her fathomless dark brown eyes (and the older one, her, um, tendency to tell people what they should be doing).

So, women, take those tops off, lose the bras (woohoo!) and...

Do your self exams each month and if you're 40 or older, go in for your annual mammograms.  I know, I know.  It feels like running over your breasts with a car, but after the first one and you know what to expect, it's not as bad.  If you're at a higher risk for breast cancer, talk to your doctor about scheduling one before you turn 40.  Do your research and find out if you're at a higher risk or not.  Having a close relative who's had it will put you in that category.  Hormone treatments (HRT and birth control pills) carry an increased risk of developing breast cancer.  Take care of yourself.  We're the only ones who bear the responsibility of taking care of our bodies.

If you're a man and you're reading this, be aware that breast cancer also can affect men, so watch out for yourselves, too.  And encourage your wives, girlfriends, sisters and moms to do their exams.  Tell them that they're so precious to you and you want them to be healthy.  Volunteer to go with her for support, even if it's just a routine baseline screening.  She'll adore you for it!

False Advertising

I was already drafting this blog article in my head when I came across a link to this article on Twitter.  Apparently, I'm not the only who's noticed that misleading and false advertising has become par for the course in American marketing.

About a year ago, I posted an article challenging Dove's claim that soap leaves soap scum on your skin; you'll find that here.  Soap doesn't leave soap scum behind; it leaves glycerin, a humectant which draws moisture from the air to your skin, moisturizing your skin with water as God intended.  Since posting that blog article, I've seen that commercial a few more times, and on the screen shot where they're telling you about this horrible "soap scum," at the bottom of the screen in little white letters it reads, "Artist's dramatization."  Let's break that down.  One, it's not like they've taken a black light or infrared light to a woman fresh out of the shower after she's washed with soap to show what's left.  Nope, a graphic design artist likely went in with a mouse and a bit of imagination and drew the "soap scum" in.  Dramatization - it's FAKE, people!  Drama, whether it's on stage, screen or in the mind of your average teenage girl, is never as real as it's purported to be.

Thursday night I was watching my usual crime dramas (see, again, made up) and caught this commercial for I Can't Believe It's Not Butter - you know the one that starts out "Meet the Buttertons."  The hype behind this commercial is that real butter is loaded with trans fat.  We keep butter in our fridge; it's healthier than margarine and we prefer natural to nearly plastic.  Yesterday morning, I was in the fridge for something and looked at the butter box.  Zero grams of trans fats.  Of course, butter has saturated fats; all fats that are solid at room temperature are high in saturated fats - lard, shortening, coconut oil, palm oil, butter, margarine.  However, our butter doesn't have any trans fat whatsoever.  Again, you have a reputable company using deception to push their products.  And how many people would catch it?  Susie Homemaker who's trying to prepare healthy meals for her family is just going to buy the tub spread (we have that in our fridge, too) and will never look at the nutrition facts on the box of butter.

In the cosmetic industry, such deceptions come when someone claims their tea tree soap will cure everything from athlete's foot to psoriasis to the flu.  Or when a soapmaker states that the vitamin E in their lotion will make the user look younger.  All that's lies and hype to get you to buy their products.  Thankfully, those seem to be few and far between, but loudly vocal.  The majority of soapmakers will tell you what our products will do.  Our soaps will get you clean.  They'll likely leave your skin feeling softer and more supple.  Our soaps may even leave you smelling good.  Our soaps will not make you look younger, replace the hair you've lost, melt away unwanted belly fat or cure what ails you (other than general griminess).

10 October 2009

Preparing for Onslow Oktoberfest

Two weeks from right now, my first show of the season will be a wrap. Yep, that's right - my first one.  I'm only doing two big shows this year, and I haven't hooked up with any monthly markets since we moved; that's by choice.  I'm excited, though.  Preparing for a big event like this takes so much work and organization.  Then there's setting it up, my husband Peter and me coming together to get everything displayed just so.  After everything is in place to my exacting standards (that takes a while, I'll admit) and I finally get to sit back or stand to wait for customers, then I take a deep breath of satisfaction.  At that point, the hard part is over and the fun part begins.

While I really enjoy making my products (and using them, too, of course!), I'm such an extrovert that I get great satisfaction and joy from interacting with my customers.  I love every part of it, from that initial greeting to telling them about my products, helping them find their "just right" purchases and then handing them a coupon along with the soaps or lotion they've just bought.  It's in being out with my customers that I get to personally experience the people who are interested in my wares.

In two weeks is Onslow Oktoberfest in Jacksonville.  I'm excited, because this will be my first time doing this fairly young event.  Now that I'm here in a different part of the state, I get to participate in events that were too geographically undesireable to join when we lived in Durham.  Onslow Oktoberfest will take place on Saturday, 24 October at Riverwalk Crossing Park, 421 Court Street, Downtown Jacksonville, NC behind the historic train depot.  It runs from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.  Check back here for specifics on where I'll be located so you can drop in and say "hi."

My feature product will be beer soap and this close to their curing dates, I can tell you that they're amazing!  They all smell so yummy, and the ones with designs and swirls have come out looking spectacular.  Peter washed the ash off the Green Irish Tweed batch he did to reveal gorgeous green and bronze swirls.  Hops are wonderful for skin and hair, and the sniglet I tried made my skin feel so soft and moisturized.  More on those tomorrow.

15 September 2009

The Court Jester Antiques and Stuff

On a not-so-quiet street in a peaceful town, there's a row of shops facing the imposing stone structure of the county courthouse and the green expanse of the courthouse square.  Nestled in amongst these shops, situated between a florist and a lawyer's office (or a realtor's office, or both - there are signs for both, anyway) is this charming shop called The Court Jester Antiques and Stuff.

Owned by Judy Bruce, The Court Jester's name says it all.  The antiques that Judy sells are eclectic, nice pieces that strike a happy medium between old, rusted out junk (not gonna find anything like that here!) and Louis XIV end tables (won't find anything like that, either).  Not being an antique fanatic, it's hard for me to describe them, but I can say that, scattered around and in front of her shop, the antiques she carries lend a cohesion and charm to her displays.

Then there's the "& Stuff" part of her shop.  Again, the selection is eclectic and well chosen with an emphasis on crafts.  Many of the crafts are by local artisans, including yours truly.  There is hand-crafted glass bead jewelry in bold, vibrant colors and designs; a plethora of nose-tantalizing candles; glass works and; of course, the finest soaps with which you could ever want to bathe.  Sometimes, Judy's sharp eyes and appreciation for quality may snag on incredible yard sale finds.  Back in July, she had two charming, handmade four-poster doll beds that she'd found at a yard sale and that, of course, my older daughter just HAD to have.  Unfortunately, they both got sold before we had a chance to purchase them; one was going to be a treat for her that weekend.  This is just a taste of what you can find at The Court Jester.

As you enter the shop, your first impression might be, "Wow, this is small!"  Yes, the front room is small, but that's just the beginning.  The front room is like the antechamber to an amazing cavern of treasures waiting to be discovered.  The shop is deep, with goody-filled halls leading from room to room, each one highlighting particular wares.  My first experience of the shop was delight as Judy led my older daughter and me throughout each room.  And while some products are constant - soaps, candles, jewelry and books, to name a few - I'd guess at least half of the inventory rotates, with new wares coming in as Judy finds them at estate sales and auctions. 

The Court Jester is one of the many charming shops that visitors will find in Burgaw's Historic District.  Burgaw is a small town in Pender County, North Carolina, just off of I-40 at exit 398, just half an hour from Wilmington.  The Court Jester is located at 115 South Wright Street and is open Monday-Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and on Saturdays from 11:00 to 4:00.  Like most of Burgaw, the shop's closed on Sundays.  So, swing by, check it out, and tell Judy you saw it here. :-)

03 September 2009

They're Finally Ready!

In July, I posted about the two new soaps I had on the rack, Beach and Patchouli.  They've finished curing and are ready for purchase.  Since I've been spending the past month getting re-used to having a baby in the house, I haven't really done more with these soaps than stand and admire them, picking them up to sniff them and show them off to visitors.  These soaps have enjoyed a longer cure time, resulting in even milder, harder bars than the high quality soaps I usually make.  And they're still curing!  I'm leaving them on the rack until the very last minute.

This is the Patchouli soap in all its psychedelic glory.  This soap features my most ambitious swirl attempt ever - seven colors.  If you'll pardon a bit of vanity, I'm really proud of these.  Not only are these a visual and olfactory treat as dry bars, but using them increases the pleasure.  Patchouli's warm, earthy, spicy, sensual scent wraps itself around you, and each use of the soap reveals a new and different swirl as each layer of color fades away.  These soaps are moving fast; I've already sold all but two soaps from this batch.  Click here to order yours today.

02 September 2009

A Special Announcement

I am pleased and delighted to announce the birth of my beautiful baby girl!!! Hannah Ilyssa was born Friday, 31 July at 3:46 p.m. She weighed 7 lbs., 11 ozs. and was 19.5" long. And did I mention she's beautiful? Her daddy, big sister and I are all thrilled with her. She's a good baby [I hate that expression, like there's such a thing as a "bad" baby?] and is beautiful, just like her big sis is.

There was a bit of an adjustment at first, but we're settled into a routine now. Mary, our oldest, has been a tremendous help. In fact, her major trauma of the week was not being allowed to change or feed Hannah while Mary got over a little case of the sniffles. When we gave her the "all clear," she beamed. Even dirty diapers are no match for a devoted, loving, helpful older sister.

I discovered several things along this birth and recovery journey. I'll spare you the birth story; I don't feel this is an appropriate forum for that. Among everything else, though, I learned that you only get 6 weeks of maternity leave when someone else is the boss. Being the owner of my own business hasn't left me a lot of time for just sitting with my feet up. If I time it right, however, I have pockets of time throughout the day which are perfectly designed for getting business stuff done.

Another aspect of new motherhood is bone-deep fatigue. Given that, I'm going to stop talking and bid you "g'night, dear readers." In future blog entries, I have exciting news to share with you about the beer soap I've been making, my first wholesale account (woot!), Peter's first start-to-finish soap and whatever other great topics come to mind.

24 July 2009

Newest Soaps For Sale

I'm so excited about my newest soap batches - Beach and Patchouli! They're not ready for purchase, yet, but I just have to share them with you. (You can pre-purchase if you wish to guarantee you get one of these beauties.)

First, Beach... This scent is a duplicate of the Bobbi Brown scent of the same name and also reminds me of Coppertone Kids. This soap is luxurious, with a luscious lather and awesome skin-conditioning properties. It features a subtle light blue and light green swirl.

Beach Soap - newest batch

The other absolutely fabulous soap I have curing for you is the latest batch of Patchouli. Scented with pure Patchouli essential oil, this soap features my most daring, ambitious swirl ever - and it rocks! I'm taking a creator's pride in this one. Did you know that patchouli has aphrodesiac properties, making it a popular scent element in many perfumes?


Beach will be ready 8 August 2009, and Patchouli can be yours on 15 August 2009.

Summer Clearance Sale

I have been fast and furiously doing some website improvements over the past few weeks, in addition to unpacking boxes and bags, keeping up with my very social little girl, obeying the various people who keep telling me to put my feet up and trying to do as much around the house as possible. You'll notice it's in the midst of a face-lift, though the work's not completely done, yet. Just a few more changes to go, though, and hopefully they'll be before the baby makes its grand debut.

Besides the cosmetic appearance of my site, over the next week or so you'll also see some new products going up and other products getting a new look. I'll post here when those happen.

For now though, the big thing is my Summer Clearance Sale! As I unloaded and organized my inventory in our new home, I discovered some soaps just aren't moving like I want, and others that had gorgeous designs at one point are looking a little the worst for wear after traveling over a good portion of the eastern half of the state. So, it's those things I want to move in order to clear some space for the plethora of things I've queued up to make. Check out my Summer Clearance Specials today! This is a great time to stock up on some goodies for yourself or for someone else!*

*Sale prices apply to in-stock merchandise only.

16 July 2009

Just had to do it

If you're a soapmaker - or even if you're a devoted hobbyist of another sort - you know that one of the greatest satisfactions for you is getting into your work or hobby, in creating once more. Three weeks ago, I HAD to make soap. I needed (and still do) to make soap to restock my inventory, but in the meantime, my desire was simply in making something for myself, in pushing the boundaries and in trying something new. That something new was lotion soap. I'd read about people making it, and I found numerous bottles of old lotion testers during the move that were too old to use as lotion, but that I couldn't bring myself to toss out. One of those was Satsuma, a delish Asian tangerine fragrance that's always been one of my favorites.

I opted to hot process this lotion in the crock pot, for no other reason than my own impatience. Well, that, and we were getting low on soap for the shower. I was surprised to note that the lotion had managed to retain much of its scent, and my relief came when I discovered I had just enough Satsuma fragrance oil for the batch. It was a weird experience, mostly in that my soap seemed to seize in the crock pot, which is pretty much unheard of. Usually seizing happens in cold process and is often caused by reactions with particular fragrance oils. This soap was thick without added fragrance, with 10% extra water and a shorter cooking time. Regardless, I managed to get some color added and layered it in my mould - sort of - more like glumping layers. I'd hoped for a lighter orange, but my daughter was "supervising" and I was a little distracted when I was mixing up my colorant (a very child-safe process, by the way).

My dearly beloved expressed his opinion of the moulded soap: "It looks like something the cat hocked up on top." Um, thanks, darling. OK, so it did.

Block of Satsuma Lotion Soap
Thankfully, it didn't stay looking like that. Here's what that same soap looks like sliced.

Satsuma Lotion Soaps

While not the most appetizing looking soap in its barest form, it's simply luscious in use. The scent is softly citrus that lingers on skin. The lotion, as expected, did cut down on some of the lather, but there's still enough to please me, as well as superior moisturizing properties. Even with my preggo hormone-ravaged skin that's been uncharacteristically dry all summer, this soap has managed to keep my skin soft and supple. As my daughter says, "Like it, love it!"

This first lotion soap was just for personal use, but look for other lotion soaps to come in the next few months.

04 July 2009

Sara's Soaps 'n Such has Moved!

There comes a time in every family's life - sometimes sooner, sometimes later - when the rental game is just not cutting it anymore and God presents the perfect opportunity to move. That happened to us last month. Well, obviously, when it comes to moving, it's not just a matter of deciding one morning, "I don't want to rent anymore" and then being in a new home the next day. Our process started in April.

During my daughter's Spring intersession, she and I spent a couple of days at the coast, desiring a change of scenery and wanting to get a jump on the house hunting. With the help of our lovely realtor Rebecca (with Coldwell Banker/Sea Coast Realty), we found this little gem in a town about half an hour from the ocean. The price was right (and got even "more right"), interest rates were still low and as several people said along the way as one thing after another just fell so easily into place, "God wants you to have that house!" Sure, there were a few people who were skeptical. We heard things like, "You're being taken advantage of" and "This sounds too good to be true, and if it sounds too good to be true..." I can't explain it, but even with all the nay-sayers and doubters, my faith stayed uncharacteristically strong.

Several times my husband and I heard, "Why" this town? I can't really explain it, except for the fact that this is where the houses were most affordable. It's farther from the beach than we'd prefer, but it is still close to the beach. There's no Target here, let alone a Super Target, and even people who live here wonder why we'd want to move out of Durham, which has everything as far as entertainment goes - theatre, concerts, minor-league baseball, shopping, movie theaters, restaurants galore and easy access to Raleigh (home of the Carolina Hurricanes) - to move down here, which has nothing without a half-hour drive. We say, "Well, the crime stats for the whole county for a year are equal to Durham on a weekend. Here we don't hear sirens twice a night or gunshots." All we've been able to figure out is, God has a reason for planting us here, so we're going to bloom in the meantime.

Of course, business goes on. A few people have suggested I show my wares at the Wilmington Farmer's Market, and I've already found a couple of events I want to do. Summer's not going to be for shows, though. I'm spending the rest of this summer restocking the several soaps I'm out of or low on, unpacking and preparing for the baby's coming, which is just a little over 5 weeks away. I'm also using this time to make some soap just for my own benefit, to experiment with new soap formulas that I'll likely share with my customers. It's no accident that my loving, supportive husband set up my soapmaking supplies in the garage right by the door to the kitchen, nor was it an accident that my front seat held my coffee maker, crockpot and coconut oil on the very first trip down. (He even said that the crockpot was so I could make soap; the first thing it held was barbequed ribs. Really nice thought, though.)

I've already used that crockpot to make one batch of soap, but that's for another post.

20 May 2009

My Latest Soap Creation

It's not secret that I LOVE creating soaps. After all, anyone can melt soap base, add some color, a bit of fragrance, pour it into a large mould, slice it, wrap and label it and voila. Hey, it's easy, it's functional and it yields the ability to make larger quantities of handcrafted soap with minimal labor. But to create a lovely but still functional bar of soap... Or even just to create a lovely bar of soap to display in a bathroom - those tasks require skills and talents - and patience! I certainly enjoy the ease of making a batch of simple, plain, nourishing bars of soap, such as my last batch of Patchouli soap. That soap didn't even have the benefit of added color - it was a simple, aloe-based hot-processed soap with patchouli oil for scent. (Incidentally, I'm sorry to announce that I'm completely sold out of that soap at the present time, and the next batch will certainly have its share of color.)

But creating one-of-a-kind soaps brings me a special kind of joy and satisfaction. I love the way they look spread out on our kitchen table as I'm in the various steps of the creative process. Perhaps it's the array of handcrafted, trimmed and beveled soaps, waiting for their dragonfly adornments. Maybe it's the soap rack covered with small soap dragonflies that my daughter has mica-brushed, looking like they're fixed in flight over some invisible pond, wings sparkling in the light coming through the window. Then, it could be how they're finally put together, dragonfly resting softly on soap, excess soap trimmed away, and the final products waiting patiently for me to wrap and label them. I hear you now: Well, show us the soap already!!! OK, OK, here it is, my Apricot Freesia Dragonfly Soap. Currently, quantities are limited, but I'll be making more of these soon.

19 May 2009

Shout Out to Norfolk!

I have Google Analytics installed on my website, which allows me to see where the site's hits are coming from. It's amazing when I can see that people in Paris, London, Moscow, Dublin and unknown, unremembered corners of various foreign countries are hitting MY site and looking at MY wares! Another thing that Analytics does is, it shows me how many hits come from certain places and how many of those hits are "unique" (new).

I keep seeing hit upon hit from Norfolk, VA, which is not that far from here. *Waving* Not only that, but now the reports are saying "0% unique" hits from Norfolk. So... Whoever you are, drop me a line! You apparently enjoy looking at my wares, and I'd love to hear from you! It'd be great if you ordered from me, too, but no pressure! :-)

08 April 2009

The Kitchen for Cooking???

Yeah, whodathunk it? The soap production is slowing down a little. I'm making some handcrafted soaps in preparation of my show next weekend, but, despite the oils and lye calling to me from my storage area ("Sara... Ohhhhh Saaaaara" - See, there they go again), I'm resisting the urge. One, I'm seeing the end of my lye and don't want to place a bulk order this close to our move. That's just a hazmat hassle I don't want to have to think about. Two, my five-year-old daughter is on her Spring intersession (a 3-week break from her year-around school) and wants to do things with me. She's having to forebear some soapmaking and wrapping, because it needs to get done before we can go to the beach next weekend and, let's face it, the kid's got her priorities in order. She's yearning for sea and sand as much as I am!

So, in an effort to include her in things I want and need to get done, she's been helping me wrap soaps, do dishes and when she makes a mess in the living room, she picks it up and vacuums if necessary. This morning before I'd even finished my morning cuppa, she was asking me when we'd be doing dishes. After slowing her down... and slowing her down... And, "Can I please just finish my coffee before we have to worry about that?" After all that, we got productive. (Um, no, she's not available for rent, lease, borrow or loan, but you can use her as an example for kids who don't want to work around the house.)

Another one of my projects that I've been wanting to take on is really very simple - fairly healthy breakfast sandwiches for my husband to carry with him to work. I've done these before and he liked them "OK"; fat-free cheese slices are apparently very plastic-y, whether they're melted or just unwrapped. I got the original recipe out of Lean and Lovin' It by Don Mauer, a local nutritionist who's put out some great lower fat, lower calorie recipes that still taste good. The original recipe calls for:

English muffins
Egg substitute
Fat-free cheese slices
98% fat-free deli ham
Fat-free buttery spread

Not bad, but... My main thing is, the first time I made these, I trimmed down the ham slices so they'd fit the English muffins better and ate the trimmings. I can't eat cold deli meat while I'm pregnant, though, so in order to avoid temptation, I opted for Canadian bacon, just like you'd get at that place with the golden arches. So, my variation has...

6 whole wheat English muffins, split into two halves (good for fiber and protein)
6 ounces of egg substitute
6 2% fat cheese singles
12 slices of Canadian bacon (a serving is 3 slices with 1.5 g fat/serving)
Buttery spread
Fresh ground pepper
Olive oil spray (I have an air pump for oil)

This recipe does well with an extra pair of hands or the ability to form a 1-person assembly line. First, start browning your Canadian bacon in a pan you've lightly spritzed with the olive oil, about 2 minutes per side. While that's going, begin toasting the English muffins. As the English muffins come out of the toaster, spread them lightly with the buttery spread (whipped butter is perfectly OK for those who prefer natural products). I find it helpful to put the halves back together while I'm waiting on the bacon so the butter really melts.

Place two slices of Canadian bacon on each English muffin, one on each half. Pour one ounce of egg substitute into the pan and cook it for two minutes, flip it, then cook it for a minute more. Add pepper as desired to cooking egg. While that's cooking, place a cheese slice on one of the slices of Canadian bacon on the English muffin. Add cooked egg to sandwich, close it, let it cool a bit, then slip it into a plastic baggy.

Repeat until you have 6 sandwiches.

When you're ready to eat it, open the bag and pop the sandwich in the microwave for 30 seconds or until cheese is melted. Add a piece of fruit, and you've got a good, pretty healthy, portable breakfast for 6 days.

I have no idea what the fat and calorie count on this would be; I haven't checked. Both of mine have given it two thumbs up and enthusiastic "Mmmmmm's" while nodding happily. I'd guess I spent a total of $10.00 on the ingredients for this (just guesstimating), and I only used up the English muffins. I still have many cheese slices left, a few pieces of bacon and over a cup of Egg Beaters left, so I didn't use all $10 worth of ingredients. Can't hit the drive-thru for that!

20 March 2009

Great New Products!

Late February and March have been busy months for me as I've been keeping up with my honey products and learning/practicing/perfecting my swirls. Some batches have turned out great, others are nice and then there was that batch that nearly seized on me. Hey, it doesn't matter how it gets into the mould, as long as it comes out as good soap.

I've been receiving some tremendous help and guidance from a soapbud named Irene. I tell ya, that woman can do swirls that'd make your head spin! She's really expert at it. I have managed to pretty closely copy one of her amazing creations, found in this Dragonfly Soap.

This soap is scented with a delightful Fresh Cucumber scent. This one has gone fast; I only have three bars left. I made another batch today, but this new batch I scented with Magnolia fragrance. Yuuuummmy!!! Great Spring scents all around!

The other creation that went up tonight is Midnight Lilac, a beautiful lightly floral scented soap. Why midnight? Imagine walking through a lush garden with the light from a full moon pouring silver over all the plants and flowers. This soap is midnight dark with gentle lavender and silver swirls.

Midnight Lilac is a limited time offer; once these bars are gone, that's it. So go ahead and get yours. It's the perfect complement to warming Spring days.

07 March 2009

Bee My Honey

Ya know you want to. Yep, that's right. You want to grab a tube of my newest lip balm, Bee My Honey, a fabulous honey and shea butter all-natural lip balm. Shea butter contains vitamins A & E, both of which are great for the skin, and it also has sun protection properties. Honey lends its sweetness to this nourishing lip balm, and its humectant property also draws moisture from the air to your lips, helping to prevent them from dryness and chapping.

Can it get any better? Of course, it can! This lip balm also contains beeswax that came from honeycombs belonging to a beekeeper right here in North Carolina - Goldsboro, specifically. Yes, you read that correctly. Not only is my beeswax an American product, but it's also a product of my home state. Not even Burt's Bees uses American, let alone North Carolinian, beeswax (they import it). The honey I use in these lip balms is from a beekeeper in Georgia. Of course, North Carolina has great honey, but I needed something very dark for one of my products.

02 March 2009

An End to the Day

Now that the sun has set and the temps are rapidly dropping even farther below freezing, the beautiful winter wonderland will become a giant sheet of ice. Our schools are delayed by two hours tomorrow, which is what I was expecting. We'll hit some trouble spots where it's shady, but I don't anticipate a whole lot of hassle. I'm just glad that DD won't have to make up yet another day of school, and she's glad to be going back.

She took some pictures this morning of our lovely snow-draped back yard, but this one is the best. She's only five but already showing promise of being a great photographer - just as long as she holds the camera steady and keeps her fingers from in front of the lens.

After we napped (well, DH couldn't settle, I dozed and read and DD napped hard), it was time for... SNOW CREAM!!! Snow cream is a mixture of clean snow, egg, milk, sugar and vanilla, and it's soooooo good. Tradition says that you can't make snow cream from the first snowfall, regardless of accumulation, but every significant snowfall after that is fair game. While we ate our snow cream, we watched A Goofy Movie. For some reason, an allusion to Easy Cheese in a conversation made me both want to watch that movie and eat Ritz crackers with Easy Cheese. As much as I've groused about the winter weather and the make-up days, I'm going to miss the beauty of a snowfall and the sweet coldness of snow cream when we move to the coast.

Snow Day!

What a great, fun day! After a few days of grousing and griping about our seemingly never-ending winter, we got hit with our second snowfall in as many months - pretty unusual for NC weather. Well, my choice was to either sit inside where it's warm and bemoan the snow (though enjoying its prettiness, albeit out the back door) or live in the moment, bundle up and head outside with my husband and daughter. The choice was easy. After all, is there a whole lot that's more fun than playing out in the snow with a child? We built a miniature snowman, but most of our outdoor fun is in snowball fights. I tell ya, Special Forces personnel practice for months to be able to dodge projectile missiles like my daughter can dodge snowballs!

This morning first thing my daughter and I grabbed our digital cameras and took some pictures from the back patio. My first impression was of this lovely winter wonderland. Snow- and ice-draped trees started to glow in the early morning sun that was just struggling to break through the heavy, grey clouds.

The second thing I noticed was a sole pink hyacinth, one that had, being as eager for Spring as I've been, poked its head up early, beginning to bloom and blossom in response to a brief spell of milder weather. Its white, yellow and lavender sisters are still in sprout stage, having not yet formed buds. I'm hoping this frigid spell with temps bottoming out in the mid-teens won't do irreparable damage, because I've been anticipating their spicy sweet scent coming in the back door as the weather warms enough that we can open windows and doors again. Anyway, this one pink bloom was covered in snow, its pink hue barely discernible beneath its cold, white blanket.

For now, though, it's time for me to slip into warm bumwear, grab lunch and curl up in front of the fireplace to enjoy a good book and the beauty of our urban winter wonderland, now marred by hundreds of muddy footprints and decorated by a 14" snowman.

26 February 2009

Bee Happy!

What a great treat for me and for new customers! Last Spring, a sweet family bought some soaps from me - all bee-themed, containing honey, and two of them were moulded in my honeybee and comb mould. Back in early January, I guess it was, the father contacted me about participating in a Bee Festival in April. He's a beekeeper and was interested in the fact that I use bee products in my soaps. After several emails and a few phone conversations, he asked if he could take some of my soaps with him to some Beekeeper Association events, and I agreed.

I'm excited about a new group of people getting to experience and try my products. The two products I've got in stock currently that feature honey are my Oatmeal & Honey Goat's Milk soap, made of the finest glycerin bases available (American made), and containing real honey and oatmeal. Rick has also hooked me up with some superior, rich, dark amber honey from a beekeeper in (I think) Georgia that's going to rock in this soap.

The other exceptionally wonderful honey-containing soap I carry is the Soap of Milk & Honey (& Oatmeal!). Just like the biblical Land of Milk and Honey contained good things for its settlers, so does the soap of the same name have all sorts of great, skin-nourishing goodies for its users. Goat's milk is rich in vitamins A, D and E (all fabulous for healthy skin). Following that comes the rich honey, bringing with it its own antibacterial and humectant properties (meaning it will draw moisture from the air to the skin, making lotions unneccessary). Then comes the oatmeal, which helps soothe troubled, itchy skin.

Using some of these great products Rick gave me - namely, the honey and some beeswax - I decided to try a variation on my lip balm recipe. I'm going to be offering Bee My Honey, a fabulous honey and shea butter lip balm with many nourishing ingredients and the lightly sweet taste of honey. Those should be ready for purchase late this weekend after I've gotten them labeled. I'm still debating on making some with added flavors. I've got some new ones, including Cafe' Latte', Grape Soda and Toasted Coconut, in addition to Chocolate Devil's Food and Cucumber Melon.

When I make products containing beeswax and honey, I'm going to do everything possible to ensure that these ingredients are American-produced, preferably from North Carolina. After all, the honeybee is our state insect. (Burt's Bees, now based in NC, imports its beeswax from Ethiopia. And you thought you were getting a completely American product, didn't you?)

I'm offering those customers from the beekeeping community a special offer. Use coupon code "BeeHappy!" at checkout and save 15% off your order. You've still got two months to use this coupon, but, hey, why wait?

14 February 2009

Another New Creation

As you know, I'm all about creating great and wonderful and new things. OK, admittedly, not everything comes out great and wonderful - some soaps turn out ugly or maybe just not at all what I'd planned. There's one creation I'm working on, though... One thing that's great and wonderful and precious and miraculous. Check it out...

Yes, sir, that's my baby! :) I'm 15 weeks along and enjoying the joys of the second trimester - the increased energy being the biggest one. (Hey, I'm a business owner, and life starts getting busy in the Spring!) Not loving so much the fact that, overnight, my favorite Chico's jeans went from having to be hiked up to "Holy crap! I can't get 'em buttoned without sucking in hard!" Unfortunately, the growing baby bump doesn't allow for a great deal of effective sucking in.

Our little family of three's very excited about the baby coming, as are our own families of origin and friends. My dear friend and soapbud Shawna is sending me her old maternity clothes, which is a blessing, and God continues to provide wonderful things for us. We're getting excited about moving, too, though I'm not relishing the packing part. The new start at the coast will be wonderful, though I still won't be able to enjoy the fruits of the sea like I'd want to until after the baby's born. (No albacore tuna, mahi mahi or snapper for this mommy-to-be - too much mercury.)

Being pregnant certainly makes soapmaking more of an adventure than it's been previously. Certain essential oils are off-limits to me because they affect estrogen, lavender EO being the biggest culprit. Guess what's my favorite to soap and my best seller? Of course, my Ooh La La-vender soap. My nose is sensitive to my fragrance oils, and not in a good way. Oakmoss Sandalwood is my favorite to soap, but the first batch I did with it, I nearly puked. Not promising. Fortunately, I received a bar of OS soap in a recent swap, and it smells sexy to me, thank goodness. So, I haven't developed a scent aversion to it, which I was afraid of. The hard part is, a fragrance will smell wonderful when I'm soaping it, but 24 hours later, I'll want to be as far away from it as possible.

I'll have another picture or two in a few weeks when I go for my anatomical ultrasound. Hubby and I are still largely undecided about whether we want to find out the sex of the baby or not. I'd like to this time so I'll know if we need to haul down the 18 million bins of girl clothes when we move. He can understand that. However, he wants to be surprised like we were with DD, and I agree that was fun. So... Who knows? We may not find out until August.

11 February 2009

No More Paypal!!!

It came about because of a Tweet a soapmaking friend posted to Twitter, then it snowballed from there. I received some information about a credit card processing company that provides a virtual terminal that will enable me to accept credit cards at markets, shows and on my website. Well, I already could accept credit cards on my website, but they had to go through Paypal. For a while, I've had the sense that some of my customers would rather wait more than two weeks for a check to arrive to me in the mail and clear the bank before they ever received their purchases, as opposed to enjoying the relative speed of paying with a credit card through Paypal.

I've been thinking for several months about setting myself up to accept credit cards at shows and markets. After all, it's easier for some people - particularly at First Sunday - to pay by CC than to find an ATM. I'm always being asked if I take credit cards, and now my answer can be a resounding "YES!" I'm excited about this, because it will make life easier for my customers and give them a greater level of confidence when buying from me online.

31 January 2009

This Laundry Soap Rocks!

It's one thing to create a great product. And it's another to know it works most of the time. Part of my "let's get something accomplished today" schtick was laundry. It wasn't even altruistic laundry; it was selfish laundry. Simply put, I was out of black socks and my favorite dark blue jeans were dirty.

The other night, one of our cats had gotten spooked by a loud noise and, being the very vocal calico that she is, spent the next few hours making us aware of her displeasure. (Yes, I'm going somewhere with this.) Hubby was quite impressed that she was able to hiss and eat at the same time. Finally I went outside and found some freeze-dried catnip in the pot on the porch. Ahhhhh... Stoned cats don't growl, hiss or scream, so quiet returned. Well, when one cat's in a crabby mood, the other picks up on it, so the other cat was also letting us know how upset she was that her sister was in a, well, catty mood. Unfortunately, that cat prefers expressing her displeasure by peeing on clothes, namely mine. The victims this time were a dress and my red satin, fleece-lined VS bathrobe.

Now my point... The red robe went in with the darks, and instead of using the All liquid that hubby had bought while we were waiting for soap to dry out, I dumped all the rest of the first batch of homemade laundry soap into the machine (barely eking out the 2 tablespoons needed). He says the true test of how good the stuff is is how well it gets his nastiest work uniforms clean (so far so good). I put it up against cat pee, and when I moved the laundry from the washing machine to the dryer, there wasn't the least little hint of cat pee. It really, really worked!

Finally my shreds from the soap I'd made for laundry last week had dried out enough that I could grind them to powder. That soap will get a body clean, but it has no skin-conditioning properties at all. Anyway, I did my 2 parts soap to 1 part washing soda to 1 part Borax, and it's great. I had wanted to add a bit of essential oil, but all the ones I'd want to use I can't right now, so I just left it unscented. The mixture (using just 3 bars of soap) made 4 cups of laundry soap - very natural, very environmentally friendly laundry soap. The beautiful part is, I've still got 5 bars of that soap leftover, along with some excess powdered soap from today's batch. Each full load only uses 2 tablespoons of the mixture, so figure 2 tablespoons per ounce, and 4 cups is equal to approximately 32 ounces, so for maybe $2.00 or so, I've got soap to do 32 loads of laundry upstairs right now, ready to go. I'm so excited, because this is a little way I get to use my talent and savvy to save my family some beaucoups bucks over the course of a year, and do my part to help preserve our natural resources.

25 January 2009

Product Updates

In an effort to keep my stock rotating and fresh, and as I look at what I have currently and look back on last year's selling trends, I've decided as we go into 2009 to phase out my handcrafted Goat's Milk Soaps and two styles of my handcrafted glycerin soaps: Just Plain Soap and Two-Toned Swirled soaps. I still plan to stock many of these fragrances, but I prefer to make my soaps from scratch now. Doing this ensures a high-quality, at least 96% natural product; and it enables me to make larger batches at a time in approximately the same amount of time. This will ultimately drive down costs over time, which is always a good thing, as I hate raising my prices when the cost of soap base goes up.

I will continue to carry most of my existing "fancy" glycerin soaps - cats, flip flops, the funky sliced soaps and so forth. Those are delightfully creative endeavors for me, so I won't give them up. I've added a purely charming soap to my website, Be Joyful! Be Joyful! is a fun smiley face glycerin soap bearing the utterly uniquely feminine scent of the same name. Be Joyful! was the first Sara's Soaps 'n Such exclusive fragrance creation, and now, 7 years later, it continues to appeal to customers. You can just see yourself smiling back at it, can't you? You can't help it; it's that cheery. I gave a bar of this to a friend of mine one day last year, and she told me it still sits in the soap dish by her sink so it can give her a lift first thing in the morning. C'mon! Give it a try! Let it lift your spirits, too.

22 January 2009

Oh, How Terribly Embarrassing!

Being in the habit of checking my Google Analytics page on a daily basis, I'd noticed that, three days in a row, I'd had no hits to my website. This was rather disturbing, as I generally get some hits to it on a daily basis. Remembering that I'd been in this predictament before, I pulled up my site, only to discover - *gasp* - that it'd crashed! Actually, the whole site hadn't crashed; just one little sidebar that caused the entire site not to come up.

Here it is, after 11, but I couldn't go to bed without installing the patch to fix it. It's repaired now and all ready for you. I'm sorry for the interruption in your browsing and shopping experience. If you ever notice a glitch on the site, please contact me through Blogger, because I don't always check the condition of my site.

16 January 2009

Woohoo! Back in the kitchen!

My man showed up yesterday. No, not my husband, though I was glad to hear him come through the door. Nope, my other man - the one who drives the big brown truck with the yellow seal on the side bearing the letters "U-P-S." Now you know what I'm talking about, because when that truck shows up, goodies follow.

My goodies were 4 pounds of potash (potassium hydroxide) and phenolphthalein solution. Potash is a caustic that is used to make liquid soap. It forms long crystals, unlike sodium hydroxide which produces shorter ones. Of course, I just couldn't wait. Hey, once my base oils were inventoried and audited, they became fair game! I pulled out my soapmaking book and read the instructions yet again. I consulted with others who've made liquid soap. I created my formula in SoapMaker and stared at it, tweaked it a bit and made sure my finished product would be as lovely as I want it to be. Then I got started.

Making liquid soap is a hot process method, which is good and bad. Good, because once it's done, it's done and can be used almost immediately. Bad, because it takes a looooooong time to make. I spent 45 minutes waiting for my oils to melt in the crockpot (following the directions here, and it saves some dishes). I didn't think it'd EVER come to trace, so that was a bit of a wait (or maybe I was just being impatient, or my arm was getting tired). Now I'm about 2/3 of the way through the 3-hour cooking process. At some point in all this, too, there was an email to my mom, the retired chemist, who couldn't remember exactly what shade of pink phenolphthalein turns on a pH of 10 +/- 0.5. It was a long shot, but I thought I'd try. I'm sure I'll have the answer in a little over an hour.

So, now I'm waiting and am using my 30-minute intervals to get caught up on some stuff. So far I've gotten dishes done and bills paid, plus I encountered this delightfully friendly customer service rep at Stamps.com when I called about my account. I've talked with my hubby and thumbed through the mail. I may even be able to squeeze in time to write a letter to one of our nephews (from the cool aunt who helped teach him how to shoot pool). Not bad for a frigidly cold Friday.

I don't know when the soap will be available for purchase. There's some debate on whether or not it needs a preservative. This fan of things all natural is hoping not, but my gut's telling me it will, just because of the extra water that gets added to the paste. To preserve or not to preserve, that is the question. If only Hamlet had put that blasted skull down and answered a question that'd actually HELP me in this! Not wanting to give up my all-natural product if I can help it, but also wanting to err on the side of caution if it does need a preservative, I'm going to do what any responsible soapmaker would do and have both formulas tested. Then once I get those results, I'll be able to proceed from there.

09 January 2009

Little Thrills

Ya know, as much of a geek as I'll claim to be, my geekiness resides more in the realm of social sciences than in math or computers. So, if I figure out someone's motivation for doing something, then that's cool, but not so thrilling. On the other hand, if I figure out something on my website, then it's a big deal. I had a big deal moment yesterday. All I wanted to do was change one thing, the title of a side box so I can put the HSMG logo in it and have it make sense to that box. For me to make any changes to my website, I usually have three things up and available - my digital copy of the Zen Cart manual (in .pdf format), the ZC forums and the ZC FAQ pages. So, I was clicking back and forth between those three, rewriting codes, saving and then refreshing my webpage, each time holding my breath and hoping that something would come up. If I make a mistake, my site loads as a blank page until I find the mistake.

Deep breath... Hold it... Click the "refresh" icon... Wait for it... Whew! There's my upper bar, the logo, the product pics... It loaded! Yea! Oh, wait. There it is. My newly redone side box sporting the white, green and peach logo of the Guild. Woohoo!!! That was my big accomplishment for yesterday.

Today's not-so-little thrill came when my daughter, who's in kindergarten, brought home her second term report card. Looking at the grades and marks is great enough, but then I saw the teacher's comments, telling her Dad and I that she "continues to excel in all academic areas." Woohoo! We'd been concerned because her primary teacher hasn't been there since before Thanksgiving and she'd lost a lot of her enthusiasm for going to school and doing homework. We're so glad to see she's excelling, despite the interruption in her classroom.

04 January 2009

Oakmoss Sandalwood Has a New Look - At least for now

Generally when I soap Oakmoss Sandalwood, I use a crock pot hot process method (CPHP), because it takes less time, and time is of the essence with this soap, as well as it sells. However, since we're in the slow time of the year after everyone is still paying off Christmas bills and before the Spring show and market season starts, I have the time to take it a little bit slower, to CP soaps I'd normally HP, to let the soaps linger on the curing rack even longer, becoming harder, denser and longer lasting. I enjoy this time of year just for that reason.

This time when I soaped Oakmoss Sandalwood, I decided, instead of my usual in the pot (ITP) swirl, I'd give another shot at funnel swirling. Funnel swirling is enjoyable with cool, Art Deco-ish results, but it requires the soap behaving from beginning to end. It cannot thicken, accelerate or seize; it must stay at a lighter trace. Obviously, if I know this, then you can infer that I've had soap not behave when I've tried to funnel swirl it before. (One experience in this led to the birth of the "Murdered Mardi Gras Clown" soap, aka "Visions of Sugar Plums.")

I had the joy of slicing the Oakmoss Sandalwood soap this afternoon, and it's the prettiest funnel swirl I've done. I'm not bragging that this is *the* most gorgeous funnel swirl soap out there; I have a soap bud who's made some beautiful funnel swirls. I'm pleased with it. This first picture is a cross-section of the soap, and you can really see the swirls in the block.

This shows the soap sliced into bars. No two soaps look exactly alike, but I somehow got a really good symmetry on this one, so you can definitely tell they're all related. :-)

These little gems will be ready by the end of the month, and the wait will be well worth it. Oakmoss Sandalwood is a sexy, masculine fragrance with an earthy, musky, fresh, green scent. It's become my favorite masculine fragrance, and my five-year-old daughter has pronounced it "Yuuuuuummmmyyyyyy!" You can go ahead and put an order in for yours today with the understanding it's back-ordered until it's cured.

Back in the Kitchen Again

For a soapmaker who'd taken pretty much the entire month of December off from making soap, one of the simple pleasures in life includes getting back into the kitchen, making some more soap, restocking and getting ready for the Spring selling season, which could conceivably start in February, weather permitting. (Sometimes soapmaking is like lawncare, in that the seasons don't always make good sense.)

Right now my goal is to restock those soaps I've sold out of. Generally, to be honest, making not-new stuff really isn't that exciting, but I've had time to play, so that's made it worthwhile. First, I soaped Ooh La La-vender, my goat's milk and lavender soap. I have to be careful with some of my fragrances currently, so hubby's been great about helping me out. One rule I maintain is, everyone who is in any way involved with making soap must wear the appropriate safety gear, including gloves and safety goggles. Peter, however, thinks my safety goggles look dorky, so I let him improvise.
Wouldn't ya know it, lavender is one of those scents I have to be wary of, so he was helping me with Ooh La La-vender on this particular day. I made up the base soap and set up the color (ultramarine violet), then he came in, added the scent, mixed the color into part of the soap and poured it into the mould. This was his first time attempting a swirl of any kind, and I could only instruct from afar, so he was almost on his own. Friday night we sliced the loaf, and we were both thrilled at how beautifully our joint endeavor turned out.

Aren't these awesome??? This is the third batch of this soap I've done, and the first time, my soap, the non-purple part, was orangish-brown from the goat's milk having burned a little in the saponification process. The second batch was a bit better; the non-purple part was light tan. This, though... When I saw how creamy the goat's milk part was, I was awed! I'm really excited to be offering these to you, and they'll be ready for purchase at the end of January after they've finished curing. Of course, they smell FaNtAsTiC! There's a lavender-scented aura around my curing rack that captures our noses every time we walk past it.

01 January 2009

All New Goodies

It's a new year, just ripe for new products! Happy New Year, folks! Here are a couple of the new treats I have ready for you.

First, there's Ocean, a bright, crisp unisex soap that's just as nourishing for your skin as it is stimulating for your senses. This soap features a white, blue and green funnel swirl and no two are exactly alike.

Then there's this gem of the desert - Desert Sands, a warm, earthy, exotic, sensual blend of essential and fragrance oils, exclusive to Sara's Soaps 'n Such. Top notes of vanilla and sandalwood give way to bottom notes of patchouli and ylang ylang - very much a delicious, masculine scent. Now for the soap itself... A luxurious blend of nourishing, moisturizing oils that will be a treat for even winter-dry skin.

Check them out today! You won't be sorry!