26 may. 2011

Panicking!!

Well....I'm trying to plan ahead for the fair...and good thing I did! I'm almost out of product!! I spread out everything I had and it wasn't much :(I have 11 pcs each of bromelia, coffee, beer and chocolate strawberry...and like 4 each of the other ones. I need to get cooking asap!!

My DH says I need to make more coffee soap...only the coffee one is CP and I only have a week left...so that one's out of the question...I don't like how it turns out in HP. Bromelia and Cassata are in the same boat. So I'll have to play it by ear on those.

The rest I can cook up, DH already promised he'll make me a few more molds so I can make several batches at once, that will ease up my stress. The list right now is as follows: honey/almond, mint/seaweed, rosemary/lavender, choco/mint, sports fan, exfoliating castile, strawberry musk and coconut milk. As for the other products I need to make 1 additional batch of each honey, chocolate and mint lip balms and my perfumes moon, amber, Tuscany, figs, vanilla, strawberry and black raspberry. This while juggling my day job!

I don't want to overdo it in case the I don't sell much, but I don't want to go with too little product and run short mid-fair.



I've also changed my labels, I made them bigger and with the name a different color. Cassata is the old label, Café is the new label. I wanted to add a nice reference pic but it will eat my ink away and it looked too busy, I don't want to take attention away from my soaps.

I still need to pack the beer and chocolate strawberry soap and label them.

Update on my face: the gel stinks. I'm sure I'll heal just not to smell that thing again. Soap is cool, it has big friendly letters saying this product contains no parabens (cool) and contains no soap - which is funny because it's made with palm and coconut oils in addition to sodium hydroxide - so I suppose they mean no detergents. Night cream is horrible too, but doesn't smell as yucky as the day gel. Oh, and the pill makes my mouth really dry :(

OK...done nagging - now off to do what I like...soap!!
xoxo
Irene
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25 may. 2011

The Soap Bar Flickr group

You know when you're in need of some soap porn to get you going? Or you're desperate to cook up some soap and just can't think of anything cool to make? Well, this group is for you! The Soap Bar Flickr group is an awesome group of pictures posted by us - the soapmakers - and used for inspirational purposes. There are a lot of simply breathtaking soaps there. It's really inspiring to see so many amazing artists posting their creations in the group.

Please visit and join.

Thanks to Joanna from The Soap Bar for creating this amazing sharing experience!

xoxo
Irene

23 may. 2011

Health and Environment fair

I've signed up for this fair, June 5th :)

It's at my club, by mere chance I saw the flier and asked if I could participate with my soaps and they were really happy as I qualify for both focuses of the fair - the health part for obvious reasons and the environment part because the soap is bio-degradable. So I'm really happy to be part of this. They are expecting around 300 people :)

I'm working on getting soaps out for the fair, and also on my lotions. I made a wonderful lotion with everything but the kitchen sink, perfect for my poor acne filled face :( I prepared a strong chamomile and green tea infusion, blended it with rice, oatmeal, honey and fresh aloe vera gel. I added Germaben II to keep all the icky stuff away from my lotion and used only coconut and sunflower oils, to keep it light, filled with vitamin E and a little sun safe due to the coconut oil. It went marvelous, my face has improved a lot. However...it went bad. I noticed yesterday the funky smell of something left in the fridge for too long, and it's swelling the bottle like it's producing a lot of gas...and bubbles too. i guess I overdid it with the organics and under did it with the preservatives. I was so happy with the result, but now it's back to square one :(

I'm going to a dermatologist today. My face is getting worse and worse, really itchy, red and full of acne looking bumps. I don't think it is a breakout per se, more of a nervous/allergic kind of thing. He'll probably pump me full of antibiotics, send me home full of soaps and cream (and empty pockets). But I'll do anything to stop the itching :( Besides it doesn't speak so well of my products. Even though I know it's not an allergic reaction to what I do, first impression still counts - I feel everyone will think it's because of my soap :'(

More on my appointment tomorrow.

xoxo
Irene
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20 may. 2011

F is for Friday

And for FANTABULOUS soap!! This soap is both fantastic and fabulous....it looks pretty and smells divine...I just had to picture and blog it :)
First up is the two tone coffee soap, one of my first CP tries this month...it's well into curing (2 weeks) and looks great! Smells like coffee on account of the coffee grinds and liquid used...no extra color added.

Second one is the one I'm most proud of...it's a three layer CP soap I like to call Cassata (Italian ice cream made up of 3 layers) I believe it is also called Neapolitan ice cream. It's a wonderful mix of strawberry, chocolate and vanilla. This was my first successful try at layering and it turned out great! They haven't split!!

Third one is a fluke, the purple part was supposed to be blue, the white part was supposed to be green and the brownish part was supposed to be yellow. The colors I used clearly are not soap safe (DUH). Just out of sheer luck I used a floral type scent...when I cut it it looked just like a bromelia we have growing at home. So I dubbed it Bromelia (original right?)

And last but certainly not least, is my chocolate/strawberry beauty. I made this one last night, with the pouring rain, my DD calling for me to help her dry up and DH putting the groceries away. I never thought it would turn out the way it did. It is beautifully chaotic (like my life) and smells absolutely amazing!! I have it right beside me as I right and makes me want to take a bite out of it. I used real chocolate chips for the chocolate part and my wonderful strawberry musk fragrance and color for the pink part...also added some poppy seeds to make it look like the strawberry seeds. I think it turned out superb!

Enjoy!
xoxo
Irene
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19 may. 2011

Fair coming up :)

Great news!! I have a fair coming up June 5th. It's just the thing I needed. Now I actually have a reason for making tons of soap - my DH claims "just because" is not a good reason, I honestly don't see why not :P

On my to do list are:
Beer soap (a guy pleaser)
Exfoliating strawberry musk
Tweed (a soon to be guy pleaser - a new fragrance I got that smells oh so good!)
Ginger, cinnamon orange soap - I'm thinking spice swirls all over the soap
Coconut Milk - can't do without it :)
Salt bars...I did a test last week and loved the result! need to do more
Lemon poppy seed - never done this one before but it looks so cool in a few pictures I've seen...exfoliating action too
And a newcomer - strawberry chocolate!! kids will love that one!

I love it that the 2 CP soaps will be ready for the fair. Those turned up really pretty. I still have to take pics of them....and they smell divine!!!

The fair is free (woohoo) and the only thing they ask is to give an explanation or activity related to my company, so I thought of demonstrating how to make a sugar scrub at home...thinking about a brown sugar, coffee and orange scrub, with liquid soap and almond oil for extra yuminess. It's really quite simple to make, I can go on and on about the qualities of homemade products if needed or I can shorten it up and make it in a jiffy, and it doesn't compete with my products, meaning it is not one of the products I sell.

I'd love to hear tips and tricks from all of you...do you think this would be a nice and easy thing to do at the fair? Any other ideas?

13 may. 2011

Success!!

I like to try out new things...as you might have guessed by now if you've read my previous posts :) I've always been drawn by the beautiful designs of M&P soap, designs not achievable in CP or HP soap. I've also read that making the M&P base is very complicated. I also like challenges so I found an M&P making guideline and a cool little calculator for clear soap - and dove in!

I did a first test...with several fragrances and coloring, just to check out how the soap came out. It did not come out completely clear and I believe it was because of the cocoa butter, so in my second attempt today, I have removed the cocoa butter from the recipe.

Part of the test yesterday I put in nice little star molds I got at my local supermarket - the ice cube ones. They were amazingly simple to unmold, which I thought was going to be a pain, but it wasn't. So today I'm going to embed those stars into a clear soap bar.
I already have the soap cooking, and it's really quite simple if you have the right recipe...which is where the calculator comes in...it's marvelous and takes the guessing game out of it!

Steps for making the soap are very much like normal HP soap. You mix the oils with the lye and achieve a thick trace. I do this directly in my crock pot just because it minimizes the stuff I have to wash later on. Once the mix is in thick trace, I put the lid on the pot and cook for about an hour and a half to two hours. It's more than usual HP takes, but it ensures all the oil particles have become soap and the lye has been broken down.
At the end of the cooking period, blend the alcohol into the cooked soap. I used a mixer for this, in the lowest setting. make sure you scrape the sides of the crock pot and incorporate all the soap bits with the alcohol, you will not be able to do this later without compromising the clarity.

Put a towel over the pot and put the lid back on. cook for another hour or until the soap has completely dissolved with the alcohol. Don't lift the lid up too much otherwise the alcohol will evaporate. If you absolutely need to, you can always add more alcohol to compensate, but this will add more water into the mix, so just do it if absolutely necessary. Water compromises clarity.

Once the soap has completely dissolved with the alcohol (about 1 hour of cooking) add the sugar water mixture and the glycerin. Mix very gently trying not to create bubbles, but also quickly so that the soap does not get a skin on it. Test the clarity of the soap on a glass that has been put on the freezer for a few minutes. If the soap is not clear, let cook for 30 more minutes and re-test. Continue until the desired clarity has been reached. You can now add fragrance and coloring if you want to and transfer the mixture to the prepared molds. Spray the tops with alcohol to remove air bubbles and ta-da!! you have clear soap!! The next day pop the molds in the freezer for about 30 minutes and then try to unmold, this made it a lot easier for me to unmold. Curing time is 2 weeks, like a normal HP soap bar. shrinking is expected as the alcohol evaporates.

It sounds really complicated but it really isn't...I worked my day job during the process...it doesn't need any baby sitting, the crock pot knows what it's doing :)

I'll take pics of the finished bars tomorrow and post. I Hope they turn out like I picture them in my head.

xoxo
Ire
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10 may. 2011

Long time no blog!

Hey...it's been a looong time since I blogged something. It's been quite hectic around here...I've been making soap like crazy, and perfumes, and lip balms...the last two are a great hit...especially the perfumes.

I've recently been informed that my regular supplier will no longer carry the perfume pots, and the alternative is too expensive, so I had to switch pots...hopefully the new ones will sell as well as the old ones.

The new ones also can be stacked, so ideas are flowing for the different possibilities.

On a sad note, two weeks ago today my grandma died...that makes two family members gone this year, hope it stops there. Since that day I've been drowning in depression, making soap and the other stuff is just a way out, but still feeling pretty bad.

Wanted to show you guys the new amenity size soaps, available on my facebook shop individually or in threesomes (kinky). Can be mixed and matched or three of the same type. All the same soap types are available in this new size.

I've been experimenting with CP soap, so far I've successfully created a beautiful "Cassata" type soap (three layer ice cream: vanilla, chocolate and strawberry) and one that did not turn out the way it was supposed to - color morphed into a beautiful bar of soap. I actually think my original thought would not look as pretty as the morphed result, it looks like a bromelia flower...I have to take pics later on when they're fully cured. Also this morning I made two toned coffee soap...still need to unmold and cut that one to check out how it looks. Promise to take pictures and post.

xoxo
Irene
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