Thursday, August 29, 2013

Soap Crafting Book Recipe Review and GIVEAWAY!!!

Bramble Berry has always been one of my favorite soap supply companies. When I first started making soap, I learned so much from Bramble Berry and owner Anne-Marie Faiola's Soap Queen blog and youtube videos. I watched so many Soap Queen videos that I and my family had the theme song stuck in our heads.  Heck, "glop" is practically a household word in our home. 
In addition to watching tons of videos, I learned to make soap from reading many soap-making books. I loved these books and learned the essentials of soap making, but they always lacked something. I learned recipes and technique, but what was missing was the artistry involved with soap-making.
As an artistic person, what I love so immensely about soap-making is that it engages all my senses. I love the swirling, the gradients, and the color combinations, all while making something that smells fantastic that I can give to loved ones as a gift that I made. 
Until now, I have not been able to find a book that embraces both the technique and artistry of soap-making.
 In her new book  Soap Crafting, Anne-Marie not only provides all the soap making basics, but also techniques, such as the Mantra Swirl, Funnel Pour, Gradients, Linear Swirls and many others. These are all the things I wanted to learn as a beginner, but could never find in book. Soap Crafting includes recipes for natural colorants as well as fun, bright colors with micas, Lab Colors and oxides.
Where was this book when I started making soap? I would recommend this book to anyone who makes soap. It is equally appropriate for the novice soap maker or the advanced artisan who wants to try some new, more complex techniques. 
When I was contacted about making a recipe from Anne Marie's new book, I was thrilled! I have been anticipating the release of this book for months.
A few weeks ago, I was provided everything needed to make the Calendula Cleansing Bar.
This recipe challenged me to do a few things I had never done before: Using Calendula petals as an additive in 3 different ways in one soap (Calendula petals infused in sweet almond oil, added to the batter and then used on the top for added aesthetic appeal!).
The recipe was easy to follow and the bars turned out amazing! The recipe only uses 2 oils, sweet almond oil and olive oil, so it is extremely gentle on the skin. The Calendua petals also act as a gentle cleanser that is perfect for those with sensitive skin, maturing skin or young skin.

Here are some photos from my soap making session:

After the infusion, I used cheese cloth and a strainer to remove the Calendula petals.
This oil added a beautiful, natural yellow color to my finished soap.

Ready to get started,. I have everything I need! On a side not, this 10"
silicone loaf mold sold by Bramble Berry is awesome!


After I reached light trace, I added some of the Calendula petals.


The final step was to add the remaining Calendula petals to the top of the soap. Naturally beautiful!

The cut bars look and smells incredible. Everyone who sees this bar loves it!

This bar is scented with Lemongrass essential oil and smells divine! This is the perfect bar for those that don't want artificial colors or fragrances. It is also the perfect choice for people with sensitive skin. I will definitely be making this recipe again!

Please check out these other blogger who have also made recipes from Soap Crafting!


Please follow me and leave a comment and I will randomly draw someone to win the new Soap Crafting book (can only mailed to U.S)! You must enter by 10 p.m. PST., Sunday, September 1st. The second place winner will receive a free bar of this amazing soap!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Doing the Best with What I've got!

Pumpkin Latte

Love Spell! XOXO

Painted Gold Mica


Pastel Rainbow scented with Fresh Snow f.o.

Double Mint

Pumpkin Spice

I-Phone Cloe-up

Oatmeal Cookie Bar!

Looks good enough to eat!
Oh my! I have been making a batch of soap EVERY single day to prepare for the fall/winter holiday bazaar season. I am still small time, so I lovingly make my batches of 7-10 bars at a time. I do repeat successful batches, but I still love to experiment.

I invest every penny back into my business, buying new supplies and paying for registration fees etc. Right now, my soap account is just about empty, so I am relying on a successful holiday season to help this small business keep going. I am not complaining, I love what I do and am so lucky to be a stay-at home-mom who can pursue my passion!

One thing that I lack is a good camera. I see beautiful soap photos all the time. Macro photos that blur the background or foreground. I am so jealous! The photos I get are the best I can do with the camera I have. I feel that some of my most beautiful soaps, in particular, the soaps with swirls, photograph horribly! They are almost always out of focus! Next year, I will aim to acquire a better camera, with some amazing lenses, but for now, I will make do with what I have!

In the meantime, please enjoy photos of some of my latest creations. Thank goodness for natural light! It makes everything bright and happy!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Bacon Soap!

Oh yeah! Bacon soap! It smells and looks like the real thing, but has no bacon fat in it....that would be a little too authentic for me. I decided to make this soap after the popularity of my beer soap, that sells like hot cakes. If nothing else, it is a fabulous conversation starter. Wouldn't you want to smell the bacon soap too?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Everyone Loves Lavender...and Mint!

Something I have learned after attending my shows and markets is that EVERYONE (at least in Oregon), loves lavender. I could take it or leave it, but my customers love lavender, so I am making it more and more. Also, I have learned that both men and women love spearmint, so when you mix these 2 together...the Heavens open up! Next up, Lavender Grapefruit and Lavender Vanilla, but I am always open to suggestions!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Bramble Berry's Soap Crafting Kit Arrived!!!

Today is a happy day! Recently, I was approached about being a guest blogger to help promote Anne-Marie Faiola's, new book called Soap Crafting. Of course I said yes....sign me up! I was thrilled beyond belief! I was goibng to buy the book anyway, to be a part of the promotion is such an honor.

Today, as the kids  and I were about to leave the house, their was a Bramble Berry box waiting for me! Receiving a Bramble Berry box is like Christmas for me. I opened the box and found the kit I needed to make the Calendula Cleansing Bar. The kit was perfectly packaged and had everything imaginable needed to make the soap.

Currently, I am infusing my sweet almond oil with calendula petals. Can you tell I am excited? I couldn't even wait a day to get started! Joe warned me that I better not make the soap before he gets home because he wants to take photos. What a guy! Photos and a new blog post to follow soon!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

I Love Lake Oswego!

In the middle of the week, I was asked if I wanted to participate in the Lake Oswego Farmer's Market because someone had dropped out. Heck yeah! I was a little nervous about the amount of stock I had, because I usually go to the market with more, but I also had more stock than I had previously sold.

The day started off slow, as it usually does. This always makes me nervous. I always say to Joe, "Hopefully I will make back my booth fee." I always do, but in my mind, I get a bit down and think the worst.....I need to work on this. Then, like magic, I start making sales and then all is good!

I have to admit, that every time Joe is with me, and I leave the stand, he sells a ton! I think all the ladies love to see a man selling his wife's soap. He is so proud and boastful. Lucky me!

The good news is that it was my best day ever! I had a great location and almost sold out. Now, I need to make more soap!!!

My best sellers were:

Beer Soap ( everyone loves this!) I am going to market this to local breweries and beer shops
Lavender Mint (people can't get enough lavender)
Chai Tea
Minty Fresh