Friday, February 15, 2013

New Packaging and Big News!

I have been making soap daily! Getting ready for a show in March and now, I am selling my soap at a local shop called Peonies & Possibilities!

I am thrilled to get my soap into a shop, and it really was just happenstance! If you are local, please support this very charming local business! I love the shop and the owner. I hope the local Beaverton people support this fantastic shop!

I have adjusted my packaging. I have a new logo, which is stamped on my label. I love it! Artist Jason Lenox, who created the lion and rose illustration, is the best! I think it really adds to the look of the packaging.

I am also now using strips of burlap instead of scrapbook paper to package. My twine has changed too. I use to use hemp twine, but it is too stiff to work with. I now use baker's twine for my bakery scented soaps and burlap thread for the other soaps. I hope to keep improving the packaging, but I am happy with the results. Any other ideas on how I can improve things? I am always looking for creative input.

I am also tweaking my soap making. In allow some soaps to go full gel and others not to, I learn so much with each batch. I have thrown out about 3 batches recently because I am a perfectionist! Folks, soap making can be really difficult. and frustrating!!!

I have battled Plumeria recently. I love the fragrance, but it moves so fast! I can't manage any decent artistic design, so I am sticking with a basic bar. I had 2 batches that I was not keen on before I made a batch I felt comfortable selling. Good news is that I sold a whole loaf to a friend! Yeah!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Beauty of You Tube

I love You Tube. Since I am a visual learner, I have learned so much by watching other soap makers on You Tube.

The first soap making videos I ever watched were of the Soap Queen (Anne Marie) of Bramble Berry fame. I learned all of the basics that I needed to get started.

I then discovered Emily Shieh of Shieh Design Studio: I love her soaps and I love to learn from her. She is a bit self deprecating and always funny. Her soaps could not be more amazing!

I recently found Celine of :
She is incredible too! The soap pictured at the top is a technique that I learned from her. I have tried this 3 times now and each time I get better! I am no where as good as either of these "soap stars," but I love that I am improving and gathering pieces of wisdom. Thanks to all the soap makers who take the time to make these videos; they mean the world to me.

I also had a happy accident! I was sent the wrong fragrance oil from Bramble Berry. I had ordered Crisp Apple Rose, but was sent Crisp Anjou Pear. Well, I am pretty easy going, so I kept it (at a discounted rate). My kids went crazy for it because it smells like a Jolly Rancher candy, but I don't have any scents like this and I think it will be great for Spring.

I was trying to figure out how to get a pear green color. I have limited funds for soap making, so I really have to work with what I have, I never am exactly sure what color I will get unless I am duplicating a recipe, so I was free-styling this effort.

I started with a base that included green chrome pigment. The only time I have used this, I achived a forest green, so I only used a touch. I made the bottom layer a muted green. For the next layer, I added a touch of Lab Colors in Lime sorbet and then for the final layer I added more, which is what you see in the photo. I can't wait to cut this bat, but I am happy with the intense pear green of the top layer. Photos to follow soon!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What Soap Making Means to Me

She's musical and artistic

Cute little man drawn by Somerset (just turned 2)


Black Raspberry Vamilla

Citrus Zing

Lavender and Grapefruit
Brown Sugar and Vanilla

I have always loved, photography, design. I have gravitated towards these things, which is why I went to school for graphic design. I was always unfulfilled with graphic design though. The flat images on the computer screen lacked depth and meaning. After school, I figured out that I neded to apply my creative juices to something more tactile. I thought about cake decorating (before it blew up into what it is now), and floral design.

One day at work, I spotted an apothecary jar on sale at my part time job at Williams Sonoma. I thought it would look beautiful in my bathroom filled with homemade soap. Then something struck me. Perhaps, I could learn to make soap! I started reading every book about soap making I could find, took a class and watched countless hours of You Tube videos. I became obsessed. I was scared because lye was involved, but I was hooked. Soap making satisfied all my loves. I am able to be creative and expressive, it's tactile, my olfactory sense is engaged (I am in love with fragrances too) and I am able to make special handmade gifts that people love. It really was everything I had been searching for in a profession/hobby.

So now I am making soap. I have made many mistakes and am learning with every batch. I get frustrated and elated, but I am passionate. It seems silly to say that making soap has made me so satisfied, but it has.

Now, I am happy to see my daughter blooming into a little artist. She loves drawing and music and is so accomplished for her age.

My scientific 4 year old son Leo, is more of the engineer/mathematician. He can do addition and subtraction and is so smart for his age, so naturally, he loves to help me weigh my oils on the digital scale.

Perhaps someday, when the kids are older (quite a bit older due to the safety issues that come along with soap making), they can join Mommy in making their favorite soap....anything that smells like gummy bears!