Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Nikki Stitch

I have a friend who crochets and I LOVE her stuff. She made me a scarf and mitten set to give as a Christmas gift. I have seen her wear her own adorable sweaters or dresses. I desperately want one of her handbags, but have been told I don't need another one. I could just go on and on. If you get a chance you should check out her brand new website I am so happy for her! She is just getting started, so her website does not show all she can do, but still has great stuff. If you are interested in personalized gifts, contact her, she will do a great job.

Ok, that's great, but what does this have to do with soap? Well, she also makes SOAP COZIES!!! You just put your bar of soap in, tie off the ribbon, and you are set for a gently exfoliating way to use your Honu Naturals soap. She even makes them just the perfect size for one of my bars of soap. Just remember, it is important to hang to cozy and soap up after a shower to let your soap dry well.
If you don't think a cozy is your thing, she also makes the best washcloths. I have had plenty of customers tell me how much they like the washcloth and that it is the perfect compliment to a handcrafted bar of soap. I couldn't agree more. If you are going to pamper yourself with a gentle handcrafted bar of soap, you should have a gentle handcrafted washrag too!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Wrapping Soap Tutorial

Since I am addicted to soap, I just had to share this with you. The original post is by

I was so inspired with my last post, that I decided to make my own wrapped soap in paper tutorial. I can't do fancy things with Adobe photoshop, like merge picture into a collage, but I am really creative. I think you will all love this tread because I recycle paper, and a gift bag that you would normally not find any other uses for.

I took some 12x12 scrapbook paper folded it, and cut it in half.
From Wrapping Soap

I then placed the paper aside, and began to wrap my soap like you would a present in wax paper. I tried wrapping the soap in paper without wax paper and it was impossible. The scrapbook paper could not stay put without the help of the wax paper to adhere to. Also the wax paper protects both the soap, and wrapping paper from being damaged.
From Wrapping Soap

I then place the wax wrapped soap on the scrapbook paper and begin to wrap it like you would a present.
From Wrapping Soap

From Wrapping Soap

Once finished it should look like this.
From Wrapping Soap

Now this is were you get creative. You take a pick of whatever ribbon you have, or go buy some really fancy stuff and begin to wrap it around the soap. I like to use thick ribbon because it hides all the scotch tape, creases and seams.
From Wrapping Soap

Once your done wrapping the ribbon around, secure it with some tape, or glue. Then add a sticker for some added detail.
From Wrapping Soap

Here is another example that I did with a different ribbon.
From Wrapping Soap

Now this was a gift bag, with beautiful ribbon handles that you saw earlier in one of my photos.
From Wrapping Soap

I simply took it a part at the seam, and spread it out like a sheet of paper. I trimmed the excess parts that were already creased because they could not be used. I used the same technique described earlier and wrapped the soap. I also used the handles that were ribbon around the soap, and to finish it off I used one of my sticker labels.
From Wrapping Soap

When you get creative the possibilities are endless. You can make many looks just by changing the paper and ribbon, two things that are very simple to do.
From Wrapping Soap

This one is a little bit cheesy, ha ha ha ha, but still cute.
From Wrapping Soap

Friday, January 22, 2010

Favorite Teacher

Today, one of my classes told me that I was their favorite teacher and their favorite class. I think it was because they get to do lots of activities or a worksheet (very rarely) and I don't do a lot of lecturing. Plus, when I do, I try to make a game out of it. Now, I am not out to be anybody's best friend or to make the students like me. I've taught long enough to know that teenagers are fickle and can love you one day and hate you the next.

However, this was a class I'd had a LOT of problems with last semester. They are so much better this semester and I think part of that is freshmen really mature a lot during their first year of high school and it really is wonderful to watch them grow. So, I'm not out to make friends (or enemies, although it happens), but it is nice to know you are appreciated once in a while.

Appreciation goes both ways, I let my students know when I appreciate something they do, whether it is individually or as a class. Teachers don't hear thank yous or appreciation often, but it is nice when we do. When was the last time someone brightened your day by giving you a simple thank you?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chocolate and Roses Gift Set

This Valentine's Day, do chocolate and roses a little different with Honu Naturals exclusive Chocolate and Roses Gift Set.

We've created a beautiful Rose Petal soap decorated with baby rose petals. Even though we did not scent this soap, it smells lightly of rose. Then we added a heart-shaped cocoa massage bar made with delicious and soothing cocoa butter. This bar is so perfect, it just glides over your skin and melts in for an extraordinary massage. Plus, you get 5 cocoa and rose tub melts. Just drop one of these into your warm bath and it melts in the water spreading cocoa butter to moisturize and rose petals to help you relax.

We are offering two options. The first uses all natural ingredients and is unscented except for the natural scent of cocoa butter and rose. We will also be offering the set in Baby Rose scent; the massage bar and tub melts will be lightly scented with this lovely rose scent. Please note: Baby Rose is an artificial scent, if you do not wish to use an artificial scent, please select "Unscented."

The entire set sells for $17.25, but hurry supplies are limited. Contact us hmwalls (at) honunaturals (dot) com or visit our website

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

So Far To Go

Have you ever looked at your list of goals and just thought "I've got so far to go, I will never make it." I sure have. Even with my goals broken down into manageable steps, it is just daunting. I have so much to do and so far to go that sometimes I just want to lay down and quit. Really, that would be so much easier. I would have more time to myself and my projects around the house if I wasn't trying to grow a business and teach full time. I would have less stress. I would have fewer books to keep, and goodness, wouldn't that make life simpler. Oh, the list goes on.

Then, I stop and realize that although it would be easier, but this is my dream. This isn't something that was forced on me, I chose to go forward with this. I absolutely could quit anytime. However, in my heart I do not want to. I love what I do and I want to keep doing it. I want my business to grow. When I really stopped to examine my feelings, it wasn't that it was just too much; I just haven't really taken any time for me. I'm always doing for someone else. I'm grading or lesson planning, I'm cleaning (I do benefit from that), I'm business planning. etc. It was just nonstop. So, Sunday, I took the day completely for me. I did nothing productive. I read my book, I went for a walk, and I took a nap. I woke up Monday feeling good and ready to go.

When was the last time you remembered to stop and take some time for yourself?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Giving Back

Well, the fourth quarter books are done and everything is organized. Which is really good timing because sales taxes are due by the 20th of the month! As many of you may know I wanted to use my company to give back and I chose to give something back to Susan G. Komen. I created a product line called BooBees and I currently have a soap and a lip balm. My pledge was to give 20% of each sale to Susan G. Komen every quarter. Well, my very first donation will be for...$12. Ok, its not much, but every little bit helps right?

To be completely honest, the BooBees soaps did not sell as well as the others and I think part of that is because I left them unscented and all unscented products sold slower. However, I am comitted to offering unscented products. I think I will expand the BooBees line and offer some other selections. First, I think I will make the BooBees soap a honey, milk, and oatmeal soap instead of just honey. I am also thinking rosemary and mint would go perfect together and make a lovely honey soap. I am also considering a milk and honey lotion.

So, ONE of my goals is to increase sales of the BooBees products by offering a wider variety, creating a better display that explains what it is for, AND I need to have this done by March. Remember SMART goals are key. Would have any other preferences for a nice scent for a milk and honey soap? What about the lotion, scented, unscented, or a very light almost not there scent?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Lessons From Students

As you may know, I am a high school science teacher as well as a small business owner. Yesterday was a lecture day (ugh!) and I gave them homework to reinforce the lecture. However, they had a project due today, so the homework is actually due tomorrow. So, they get two days to do a VERY simple assignment. Today, they did an activity based on yesterday's lecture and it had to be finished before class ended. I heard many interesting statements (complaints) that caught my attention because they are not limited to freshmen.

  1. You always give us so much work and never any time to complete it! They had most of class Thursday, all day Friday, and the weekend for projects. They also had about 10 minutes after the activity today that could have been used to work on homework. When asked as to why they were not doing homework when they had time in class, the response was "I just don't feel like doing it now." Wow!!! How familiar is this? I could just hear myself! I never have enough time to get everything done! The truth is, I have the time, I just don't get started in a timely manner and I end up feeling rushed. To help with this problem I have gotten better about writing down the tasks that must and/or need to be done. I schedule when they will get done and then I can easily see what I should be doing. It is too easy to know we have to do something, but put it off because we don't see the big picture of EVERYTHING that must be done.
  2. I'm so tired and it is all because I had to stay up all night working on your project! Once again, they have had since last Thursday to turn in a short project on Tuesday. I asked "Well, why didn't you work on it in class or over the weekend. Starting earlier would have solved your problem." His response was, "I wanted to hang out with friends this weekend and yesterday so and so came over so we could play (insert video game)." Let's think about this. He had the time, he simply chose to do something else first. If he had not waited until the last minute and then tried to fit in more than is possible, he would not have been exhausted today. Again, scheduling and writing down tasks is KEY.
So, I learned that I can take lessons from my students! We have all done this at some point, but hopefully as we figure out what our goals are, we learn how to stay (a little) more focused and get the job done. How many times have you heard yourself saying the exact same thing? What did you do to overcome this?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Oil Cleansers

Since winter started here in Colorado, I've had to adjust my skin care regime. This is important for everybody living where you have seasonal changes in temperature and humidity. During the winter months, my skin gets parched that I step back to cleansing only at night to get rid of my makeup and any other grime I picked up during the day. I don't sweat like I do in the summer, so once a day leaves my skin just as clear as it is in the summer.

However, I decided that this winter was just too harsh on my dry skin to keep using even my super gentle shea soap. So, I did some reading and created my own oil based cleanser. I know this seems backwards, but oils will actually help remove excess oil, makeup, and dirt. Remember like dissolves like. I made an oil based cleanser specifically for my skin, which is quite dry right now, but you can always adjust the oils and ingredients for your needs.

You will need:

Olive oil
Sunflower oil
Sweet almond oil
Lavender essential oil

I mixed equal parts of the three base oil into my two ounce amber glass container that I found at Whole Foods, I love it because it has a dropper. Any container will work, but you will probably prefer something with a small opening and dark bottles will help protect your oils from oxidation. I added 5-10 drops of lavender essential oil. You can adjust this depending on your skin and whether you like lavender. If you substitute another essential oil, you might want to use a maximum of 5 drops because some are NOT good for your skin at higher concentrations and can actually cause irritations.

To Use:
Use one dropper full or a dime size amount in your palm, rub between your hands and VERY gently massage into skin. Remember to always smooth up, away from gravity. Use a soft cotton cloth to wipe away excess oil. If you want you can dampen the cloth with warm (NOT HOT) water. I follow with a gentle toner and a light moisturizer. You would think that I would need a heavier moisturizer since it is winter, but I found that the cleansing oil leaves my skin clean, but not dry. I cannot use the cleansing oil in the summer because even without a moisturizer, my skin is much too oily, but for dry winter skin, this might be ther perfect cure!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Lemon-Lime Soap

I decided that I would love to create a lemon-lime soap. I have lemon and lime essential oils, but to make it more interesting it should be swirled with green. I couldn't find a mica or oxide that stayed a true green in cold process soaps and was a non-bleeding color. So, I checked around and read that spirulina powder would give you a dark green color in soap. Perfect!!! I also read that it has a funny smell, but I wasn't really worried because lime and lemon essential oils are pretty strong.

I mixed my soap and at light trace I separated out about 1/3 of my already scented soap and added my spirulina that was premixed with a little olive oil. I mixed it well and the soap was a lovely green color. I poured my main soap, then pour my green soap as you would to swirl it. I use a wooden skewer to drag through the soap and make lovely swirl patterns. The soap smelled and looked wonderful.

I wrapped it up and set it aside thinking "well done" to myself. The next day I pulled my soap out and it still smelled and looked fabulous. I cut and set it to cure. Now, two days later the green has turned to a light brownish-tan color. It still smells great and its actually kind of pretty, but not what I was going for. This is obviously still usable, but not something I'd like to sell.

So I'm not sure what happened. Has anyone else had this problem? Have you use spirulina powder successfully? Like I said, great smell and I can't wait to use it, but I'm curious what went wrong.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Anybody that is in business or even a hobbyist knows that we are constantly reading and checking out the latest information or anything that might be interesting. Although, we also know how little time we actually have for it. I found a book that looked interesting, so I checked it out from my local library (saves money). I will omit the title, but it was about green living and green beauty. I was very excited, these books always have such interesting information and great ideas.

Well, I'm sorry to say that I was VERY disappointed. In fact, I was so irritated by some of what was printed that I didn't even finish more than two chapters. The author generalized the ENTIRE beauty industry into these evil monsters that are simply out to make a profit. That is neither true nor fair. Many indie businesses were started because of a desire to do something good for our customers, the environment, and ourselves. Sure, we are in business, so we must make a profit, but it is not true to say that everyone in this business doesn't care about harming our customers as long as we get our money.

The author also used information from several studies out of context. Yes, the studies were done and those were the results, but the conclusions drawn by the author, were not the conclusions drawn by the original researchers. Did the author have the background to make such conclusions from the studies? Did the author have all of the data, information, and a thorough understanding of the entire study and all its background? If not, then nothing concluded by the author was valid and therefore should not have been printed. It is important for us to realize the amount of time, effort, and work that goes into each study and that each study needs to be repeated multiple times by other researchers before the results and conclusions can be considered valid. If a study is never repeated, then by the very definition of scientific inquiry, the results and conclusions are useless. It is never a good idea to get all of your information from one source or one study.

Lastly, the author made statements about any product that claims to be unscented must still be scented and companies that claim to use "pure essential oils" are in fact using very little essential oils and filling in with fragrance oils. So, you are thinking you are using a more natural product and are actually applying a chemical cocktail to your body. Again, that is a huge generalization and NOT TRUE. Are there companies that do this? I'm sure there are. Are there a large number that do not? ABSOLUTELY!!! My "naked" products are completely unscented. I understand that even a light scent can irritate a person's skin and senses, so if I say unscented, it truly is. I use pure essential oils in my products, I don't sell anything with fragrance oils (although I do make them for friends occasionally). I really don't put ANY other fragrances in my products. I know I could have a wider variety of scents if I did, but I'm happy without artificial fragrances. PLUS, I know I am NOT the only business person that is honest and up front about my ingredients.

It upsets me that someone published a book to promote green beauty and what was printed in that book could actually hurt those of us in this industry that are trying to make a greener, healthier product. Have you read anything that you realized was promoting a personal agenda and not necessarily selling the truth?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Get Ready for the New Year

I know that 2009 was a rough year for several of us for many different reasons. We all had one thing or another to overcome, but we have survived for another year and are still moving forward. I have started setting some of my goals for this next year and I took something from teaching to do this.

Usually my goals are simple and so vague they are awesome. I will get in shape, I will lose weight, I will focus on growing my business. Great! Now, how do I do this. When setting our yearly goals for teaching (see I really am not a novice at this) we have to make SMART goals. This stands for:
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Attainable
R = Realistic
T = Time-based
I'm sure many of you have heard this before, but it is important. If you are going to set a goal, you need to meet all of these. I can't just say I want to lose weight. Answer these 5 questions and you have a goal that you are more likely to meet. How much weight (realistic is part of this), what will you do to achieve this, and when will you be done. Time is one of the most important elements (in my opinion). Give yourself a deadline. If you don't, you will put it off.

So, I took one of my goals, I will grow my business, and I made it more specific. I broke this goal into certain things I want to accomplish. I want to have 2 wholesale customers, gross $____ in monthly revenue, have 10 more subscribers to my blog, and the list goes on. But, each was specific, it has a number, so I can measure what I'm doing and I made my goals attainable. Would I like more than 2 wholesale customers? Absolutely, I would love it, but I don't even have a wholesale price list made, so let's be realistic. I also set dates when I would like to have each goal accomplished and "by the end of the year" is not a good date. Give yourself too much time and you'll forget or procrastinate.

The next thing I did was look at each of my goals and write the steps I need to take to reach each one. If I'm going to wholesale, I think a wholesale price list is going to be necessary. I also set a deadline for each of my steps to lead me up to meeting my goals. By doing this, I have broken this huge task up into manageable pieces and I can focus on what I need to do. I won't just be floundering around and accomplishing nothing. I can now set my monthly, weekly, and daily goals (guess what I do every Sunday) and I will be focused and I will be proactive in my business and personal life.

Good Luck to everyone in the coming year. I would like to know what some of your goals are and how you went about making them SMART goals.