Sunday, February 7, 2016

My Soap Curing Dream

Elegant Solution

My not so glamorous solutions

Shelving above the Toilet
Curing soap in the Linen Closet
Above the Laundry

Folks, the soap has officially taken over! Like many other soap makers, I have soap all over the house. The house smells great, but the soap is taking over! What I really need is a new house, complete with a finished basement devoted just to soap making. That simply can't happen yet, so I need to get creative.

My soap storage solutions have been to find little pockets of space throughout the house for soap curing. The linen closet, above the laundry area, my closet, the storage above the toilet etc, has all been taken over by my increasing supply of soap inventory. Yikes!

I love BΛTHVS solution to soap curing...make it into an art piece. How beautiful is this? I have always though that curing soap was quite pretty, and it would also be constantly changing, which is so interesting. I love this idea and may have to incorporate it into my home decor!

What are your solutions for soap curing? Baker's Racks, specialty soap curing racks, cardboard boxes? I'd love to know what other soapers do.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Indie Cruise 2016

These people are amazing!

Ready for the White Party!

The 2 JoAnns. How I love these ladies!

Me and Dawn Fitch of  Pooka Pure and Natural

Jen from Klean Spa

Me and Anne-Marie

Me and Donna Maria

Me and Margaret Helm-Duell of  Mohea Natural Beauty

Me, Anne-Marie and Donna Maria. This will be framed!

I recently returned from Cancun from  a trip with other makers on Indie Cruise 2016, (which was actually at an all-inclusive resort) and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I have always admired Donna Maria Coles-Johnson and consider her a mentor. She is the mastermind behind the incredible Indie Business Network, which I joined in January 2015. After hearing so much about the Cruise, and the speakers and supportive maker community, I decided to make it a priority to be a part of this annual trip. With the support of my wonderful husband, who took a week off from work to watch the kids, I was on my way to Cancun to soak up all the knowledge and wisdom I could from the other makers and business owners.

Bramble Berry's Anne-Marie Faoila was a guest speaker at the event. As Donna Maria expresses, "her presentation and workshop on life planning and productivity was a special highlight of the trip." Meeting and getting to know Anne-Marie was an amazing experience. She posted about the trip on her blog, in which she shared key information shared by our speakers.  Please take a moment to read her takeaways from the trip.

I was able to meet the owner of the awesome Etta and Billie, whose soap I love so much Alana was as adorable and personable as I could have imagined She is so full of life and has so much charisma. The products she creates, along with the vibe of her business has  always fascinated me.

I could go on and on about each maker. As Anne-Marie proclaimed, "We are all special snowflakes." Yes indeed! All of these makes were special, creative and vibrant spirits! I am so blessed to have met them and am ready to take on 2016!

If ever you get the chance to be a part of this annual event, I strongly encourage you to go, Being around other makers, in a supportive and inspiring environment was an experience of a lifetime. Next year, plans are underway to visit the Dominican Republic and I certainly want to reconnect with my new maker friends. Are you game? I'd love for you to join me!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

CONTEST!!!! Name that soap!


I need help! I have so many clever followers and I am hoping you can help me name my two latest soaps. 
If your soap name suggestion is chosen, you will receive a free bar of your choice from my web store. Contest ends Wednesday, February 3 at midnight PST.
I have created 2 new soaps! The first is the soap that I made from Bramble Berry's Oatmeal soap for babies from Pure Soapmaking. 
The first is the soap that I made from Bramble Berry's Oatmeal soap for babies from Pure Soapmaking. It is  scent/dye free, with colloidal oatmeal and chamomile infused olive oil (perfect for babies and those with very sensitive skin)
The 2nd is scented primarily with cedarwood essential oil, along with lavender, orange and ylang ylang essential oils.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Guest Post: Fields of Ambrosia speaks about Lavender Essential Oil Safety

I recently went on a business trip with some amazing makers from the Indie Business Network. We met n Cancun and shared great information, meals and friendship. One of the amazing ladies I met, as Deb Jasien, From Fields of Ambrosia. Deb has extensive knowledge about essential oils, which I am particularly interested in because I am using them more and more in my soaps. I only use them for aromatherapy, but with the rise of popularity in companies like  DoTerra and Young Living, people are using them more and more for medial and therapeutic reasons. I too have done this, often ingesting them diluted in water. However, Deb and some of the other Indies, who have studied essential oil usage extensively lamented that these extremely concentrated oils are often misused, which can be dangerous. Deb was kind enough to allow me to share her blog post about Lavender Essential Oil Safety, which is invaluable to me as a Lavender enthusiast. Please take a moment to read Deb's article:

A Guide to Essential Oil Safety – Lavender

The surging popularity of essential oils and aromatherapy may seem like a New Age trend, but they’ve actually been around for centuries. They are natural remedies with incredible power and there are many essential oil resources online giving worrisome blanket advice about their use. Because of the strength of essential oils, you should always be cautious of over-using them.
In most cases, essential oils should not be used undiluted on the skin. Due to the small molecular size of essential oils, they can penetrate the skin easily and enter the bloodstream. As a general rule, essential oils should be diluted in a carrier oil like jojoba  or grapeseed, 3-5 drops of essential oils per teaspoon of carrier oil. Undiluted use can cause irritation or an allergic reaction in some people, and can cause a permanent sensitivity to certain oils after using it on broken skin. Some, like lavender, rose and chamomile are typically considered safe for undiluted skin use.
This isn’t to say essential oils should not be used, but they should be used carefully, with proper education and in safe amounts. Let’s take a look at ever-popular Lavender in this week’s column.

 LAVENDER OILLavenderEssentialOil

Imagine a flower being able to calm your nerves, help reduce inflammation and swelling, promote faster healing for minor burns, decrease muscle pain, alleviate insomnia, and work as a natural bug repellant? That purple colored flower named lavender, which is derived from the Latin word lavera meaning “to wash”, is one of the most versatile essential oils the plant kingdom has to offer.
 Types of Lavender:
Lavandula angustifolia is the most common type of lavender and is referred to as true lavender. Any true lavender will have the botanical name of “lavandula” as the prefix. (There are up to 39 different species, including lavandula officinalis and lavandula vera, yet they will all be simply lavender). The reason the “true” lavandula angustifolia genus is so popular is due to the low rate of camphor, less than one percent, it retains after distillation. This lends the essential oil a strong floral aroma, but it also makes it quite effective in aromatherapy usage, especially in accelerating the healing of minor burns. Lavandin, (also known as Dutch lavender), yields a similar essential oil, but with higher levels of terpenes including camphor, which add a sharper overtone to the fragrance. Camphor is a chemical constituent that you don’t want near a burn, and other versions of lavender,  which can contain up to 8% camphor—are not effective for soothing delicate skin tissue.
Unlike many other essential oils, there are few safety precautions. Lavender essential oil can be used neat, meaning without diluting it in a plant based carrier oil, but it must be done in small amounts and only for minor skin problems. However, it is advised to dilute lavender with a vegetable carrier oil such as olive oil, jojoba, sweet almond oil, etc., just to make certain that your skin doesn’t have an allergic reaction. Be very careful when purchasing pure lavender essential oil to be used for minor medical burn treatment emergencies as you will need true lavender, the type containing the lowest amount of camphor, and NOT lavandin, the genus which has up to 8% camphor – a burn causing ingredient!
 Uses for Lavender: 
Bath soak ~ All you need is approximately 10 drops in your bathtub of warm to hot water and you should find yourself relaxing.
Diffuser ~ Add a few drops to an aromatherapy diffuser. Lavender will fill the room with its soothing floral aroma and relaxation should follow.
Sachet ~ Add dried lavender buds to a small muslin bag and store in your drawers/cupboards, and especially where linen is stored. This method also works well as a natural bug repellent if you hang a scented lavender sachet in your closet(s) on a hanger.
General: As with all essential oils, never use them undiluted, in eyes or mucus membranes. Do not take internally unless working with a qualified and expert practitioner. Keep away from children. If applying an essential oil to your skin always perform a small patch test to an insensitive part of the body (after you have properly diluted the oil in an appropriate carrier.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Bramble Berry's Pure Soapmaking

Chamomile Infused Olive Oil

Ready to make soap!

This soap is so creamy and beautiful! I can't wait to unmold!
I have been eagerly awaiting Anne- Marie Faiola's newest soap making book Pure Soapmaking for quite some time. It just so happens that I have been wanting to add a new collection to my current line of soaps that are colored with natural colorants and use only essential oils, so this book is a Godsend to me.

In Oregon, there are many soap makers that make all natural, rustic "hippie" soaps. I love these soaps, but I have always loved the advanced soap making techniques that often involve the use of bright pops of color. I am often told by customers that my soaps are "too pretty to use," and honestly, creating something  beautiful and useful is one of my driving forces and a component of soap making that ignites my passion.

That said, I have a few plain Jane bars that sell really well for me, especially at the farmer's market. My Peppermint Tea Tree, Lemongrass and Oatmeal, Milk and Honey are great sellers,and are beautiful in their simplicity and purity, but I am looking to create bars that are not only natural, but beautiful.

This is where Pure Soapmaking comes into play. This gorgeous book is filled with over 200 pages of information and recipes that are perfect for my new journey down the all-natural path. These recipes use essential oils and natural colorants, It is perfect for the beginning soap maker, or the advanced maker who is craving an artistic challenge.,

The bar that I chose to make is the Oatmeal Soap for Babies. Why? Well, I have 3 babies, aging from 7 years-old - 19 months. I also have many mommy friends who want a gentle bar for their children, some of whom have skin sensitivities. I also have quite a few customers who are allergic to scented products. About 99% of the time, these customers will buy a scent-free, gentle bar if presented with the option.

The Oatmeal Soap for Babies was extremely easy to make. I don't want to give away all the details (you must get this book!), The bar is primarily olive oil, which is infused with chamomile. In addition, there is the addition of shea butter,for moisture, castor oil for bubbles, along with skin loving bentonite clay and colloidal oatmeal. I love the addition of the Chamomile infused oil, bentonite clay and colloidal oatmeal. These extra ingredients not only make a better bar of soap, but may distinguish my soap from other baby bars. I can't wait to try it out on the kids!

For the next few weeks, I have a standing night-time date with Anne-Marie and her new book! I will post the results from all the new recipes I make. If you like all natural soap making, but still want to incorporate special techniques that will set your soap a part from the rest, this book is for you!

These are the test subjects! They love bathing and Mommy's soap!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

It all started with a $50 Gift Card

One of my first soaps, Ocean Mist. I was so excited by how pretty it turned out. 

With every new year, I reflect on my business and dream of how I can take Lion and Rose to the next level. January-April are my slow months, so I have a time to replenish my soap stock, take a deep breath and contemplate what I will do next. It's a very exciting time for me. I am filled with inspiration and re-dedicate my efforts. This is when I dream big!

This year, I have been reflecting on how far I have come in the last 4 years. It all started with an interest in a potential new hobby or perhaps a creative outlet. I was the mother of a 4 year-old boy and a 1 year-old daughter. I love being a stay-at-home mom, but I was craving a creative outlet. For my birthday, my husband bought me a $50 gift card to Bramble Berry. I had been watching a constant stream of Soap Queen tutorials and reading endless blogs about soap making, so my husband thought my birthday would be the ideal chance to let me get my toes wet by allowing me the opportunity to buy some supplies of my own.

I spent countless hours reading fragrance oil descriptions, learning what I could about colorants and trying to figure out how best to spend that $50. I chose pretty well, in fact, the first fragrance I ever bought, Energy, is still in my line and is called Good Day Sunshine.Looking back, $50 is nothing! I was so frugal and thoughtful. My batches started very small and allowed me to learn my craft without too much risk.

From the start, I only used gift money and my eventual sales from my soap to fund my company. To this day, almost every dollar goes back into the company. I have never used family funds for the business and I have steadily grown about double in sales per year. I have so much pride in what I have built and am becoming more confident that a desk job will not be a part of my future. I can continue to dream big, work hard and am loving every minute of it!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

This image is from Naiad Soap Arts. So in LOVE!!!
Look at these kids! I am so blessed to have these 3 little ones in my life!

I have been so busy with bazaars every weekend. It has been so fun and I love every minute, but I haven't been able to make much soap. I am now itching to add to my product line. That may be my goal for 2016! I tried candle making, but I think that may just be a hobby. I am so anxious to get busy creating again! What should I add to my line? Whipped sugar scrub, roll-on perfume, shave butter, shaving soap, lip scrubs? What's your vote? If your  maker, what are some of your more successful product lines? I am like a kids in a candy shop...the possibilities are so exciting.

I am so eager to get my hands on some of Bramble Berry's awesome body care kits. Yes, this could be a business expense, but I would love my husband or kids to buy me one as a Christmas gift. I know I can write this expense off as a business expense, but sometimes a girl can mix business with pleasure.

I find so much inspiration from Erin Pikor of Naiad Soap Arts. Like me, she was a Graphic Designer. I LOVE her packaging, website and amazing products. I also would love some whipped sugar scrub for Christmas please (hint to my husband). I may just have to buy some for myself. Merry Christmas to me!

I am so excited for 2016. Every year Lion and Rose grows and I am so excited to see where the new tear takes me.