27 December 2009
03 December 2009
10 November 2009
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
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
10 October 2009
15 September 2009
03 September 2009
02 September 2009
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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:
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)
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.