Wednesday, January 30, 2013

CP/MP (Magma) Soap

I have been playing with the idea of incorporating MP soap into my cold process soap. I've seen some cute ideas using embedded shapes and such. I also found a tutorial on the Soap Queen blog about magma soap.

In magma soap, you don't create shaped embeds made from MP soap, but you pour it in the soap with your CP soap, just like you would for normal CP swirls. Hmmm...sounds interesting!

I decided to give this a try with a Valentine's Day inspired soap. {Side note: I love making holiday soaps because I can experiment with whatever I want and people know they won't be back until next year. Usually, they don't even mind if it isn't the same soap next year! Now, back to the point...} I love making soap using pinks and reds. There is something about those colors that I just adore. I will probably never decorate my house with them, but I love them anyway. Well, this year, I decided to throw in a little purple too!

The fragrance I chose has a higher vanilin content, so it will discolor. I used a color stablilizer (actually made for MP, but it usually works well enough in CP) to keep it from turning brown. I used clear MP soap colored with a pink mica that looked so lovely that I thought of another project from it. I separated my CP soap into 4 containers; one I left uncolored (I probably should have added titanium dioxide to make it white, but I didn't), one was red oxide, another fired up fuchsia, and last was violet ultramarine with a little blue added (all from BB!).

I poured the white in first. I poured it in lines lengthwise down the mold. Then, I did each of the CP colors and the MP pink came last. I repeated with the rest of the white, red, and MP, but I didn't use all of the pink or violet. I tried doing a quick swirl like the tutorial, but I think I just drug huge chunks of MP around (oops, I took too long). Then, I used the left over pink and violet to do widthwise lines along the mold. I used a skewer to swirl just that very top layer, which was really easy because the MP had cooled, making it impossible for the skewer to go through that :) I added little MP hearts I had made using white soap and red oxide. I put the whole thing in the fridge. Since it has MP soap in it, the high temps during the gel phase would probably not work in my favor!

Here are the finished bars. You can see that my hearts on the top didn't quite work out right. I should have figured out a way to get them to stand up or lined up with my cut lines. I have also decided that I should not have tried to drag a skewer through to swirl it, I'm pretty sure it would have looked better. My pink and violet are not as vibrant as they were, but that could be due to the fact that the soap didn't gel OR the fo contains vanilla and will be changing my colors over time. Overall, I'm happy though!

These are already up on the website, but they won't ship until February 6th.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Fifty Shades of Soap

In one of my recent orders, I received a fo called Fifty Shades as a free gift. I am not a fan of the book (different topic), but I swooned over this scent! It is masculine and sexy and amazing! I have a feeling the ladies will love this one too though.

You can tell my inspiration for the soap came from the name. I really considered creating an ombre soap, but decided that I liked the idea of something a lot less even. So, I ended up separating my soap into 8 containers with varying amounts of black oxide and randomly dumping different amounts in the mold. I didn't even bother with any other swirling! I'll admit that I was worried it would look bad, but I actually love them.

I think they look perfect and smell absolutely amazing.

These will be available February 17th.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

DIY Sunscreen or DDIY?

During my summer markets, I am constantly being asked if I make sunscreen. I have to explain over and over again why I don't make sunscreen for sale. I don't even make it for personal use.

I have explained that while I could do the research and figure out the exact amounts of certain minerals that you are supposed to use for a specific SPF and make it just like it says. I could even throw a bit more in the mix, just to be sure. However, sunscreens are regulated by the FDA as a drug and actually require testing to show how effective they are and to give the true SPF value.

I know plenty of people have their own feelings about the FDA, but there is good reason for this. Sunscreens are used to help prevent serious skin damage and cancers caused by the sun. Do you really want to use a sunscreen that SHOULD be effective? Or does using one that has been proven to be effective seem like a better idea?

When I explain this, I have some people that nod like I've helped them understand why it isn't a good idea to make sunscreen without testing; however, plenty walk away shaking their heads like I'm crazy. I'm sure there are micro-business owners like myself that do make and sell untested sunscreen, but for me and my family, DIY sunscreen is a big DDIY (DON'T DO IT YOURSELF)!

Interestingly, I was reading the Soap Queen blog and Anne-Marie did an interview with Amanda of Realize Beauty in which she discusses sunscreen testing and her interest in it. I would have eventually looked up her company, but this section led me to look up Realize Beauty right away and start browsing. I found a post about making your own sunscreen and found exactly what I'd been trying to explain!

DIY sunscreen sounds great! You could save money, control the ingredients that go in, use only the freshest ingredients, and no longer have to depend on some large company to do what you are perfectly capable of. However, there are way too many downsides to this DIY project to make it worth it. This is one of those things that should be left to the companies with the know-how and resources to make sure it is done right.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Week 2 (&3?)-21 Week Organization Challenge

This week I did two of my items on my checklist, so I think that should count for two weeks ;) If I keep that up, I might just finish before our little addition shows up! Wouldn't that be crazy?

My first item was to clean up the playroom/den. We don't have much in the den except toys and a tv, so it was pretty easy. I went through the movies not too long ago, so those didn't need to be done! I went through all of the toys to clear some out. I didn't get rid of some of the toys that Hayden is too old for because his little sister will need them! But, I did move them out of the way. He has this tendency to pull everything off the shelves before deciding what to play with. So, there is now less for him to pull down...see, it was a brilliant plan. I didn't go through the toys in his room because I just recently moved toys in there for him to play with when I converted it to a toddler room. I did go through the toys in the kitchen. We keep a little box there for toys he can play with when I am cooking. He won't usually leave the kitchen, so these keep him entertained and away from the cooking.

Next, I went crazy and cleaned out the car. It has been a very long while since that happened! I cleaned out a TON of trash. From there, I really didn't have much in there that didn't belong. There was a pair of little boy's socks (when did that happen?) and a pair of flip flops. Other than that, it just needs to be dusted and vacuumed out, so I stopped at a car wash on my errands! I even checked my little "emergency roadside kit." I still have everything in there that I was need if I have minor car trouble while on a trip.

Oh, and I'm not giving you pictures because I don't want you to judge my poor car. It carts a toddler, a dog, and a lot of student papers around; so don't pick on it :)

I know that I will want to put off the bigger items until last, so I'm going to try to do one of the big jobs this next week. Maybe I will do the one of the biggest and get the laundry room done!

How are you cleaning up for 2013?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Organization Needs to Be Continued

Early last year I started the Declutter Challenge, every week the challenge was to get rid of one item that you didn't need to declutter your house. I made it through 29 weeks before school started and I was a little too busy to continue what I'd been doing. That's not to say that I didn't continue getting rid of things, but that I didn't have time to go through things. So, I continued, but a lot of the things were really small. It does count because they left the house, but I didn't post about them.

I found another challenge that I would like to try. I found this on Pinterest, it is the 21 Day Organization Challenge. If I'm honest, there is no way that I can do one of these each day. Nice idea. Won't happen. So, instead of setting my self up to fail, I'm going to change it just a bit.

First, I changed the list a little because that list didn't fit my exact needs. For example, we don't store anything under the beds anyway. I'm serious, I don't put anything there. When we had a cat, she loved to sleep under there and left mountains of black fur. I just never started putting anything there after she passed on. Second, I'm not going to do one of these everyday for a month. I'm going to try to get 1 or 2 done a week. Some are very small and others are large. If it is simple, I should get 2 done a week. Larger tasks will be one a week.

My list is not 20 (the last one is enjoying the cleanliness) items long. It is 19 because I took off clean out from under beds and the coat closet (don't have one!), but I added clean out my soap room.

I'm going to check off cleaning out the jewelry box because I just went through all of my jewelry when I hung up my new DIM (did it myself!) Jewelry Hanger! I'm also checking off clean out my purse because I did that this morning.

I know several of the things on the list are similar to what I did in my Declutter Challenge, but some of those were done a while ago, so it is time to redo them anyway. Others need to be done because I'm going to be rearranging for our new little addition.

Who else is on an organization kick with me!?!

Monday, January 14, 2013

New Soap; Needs a Name...

I purchased an essential oil blend called "Mother Earth." It is a blend of Bergamot, Cassia Root, Cedarwood, Nutmeg, Lavadin, Peppermint! It is so good. I can't even describe it; maybe a little earthy, minty, spicy? I had meant to make the soap with it a while back, but that didn't happen. 

I did get it done last weekend though!

I colored it with micas and oxides. My inspiration was the name of the eo blend! It is brown on the bottom (sort of, I should have mixed better), green in the middle and blue on top. I did a hanger swirl (check out how to do it here) to get my layers to mix a little. I really like the way it looks! I wasn't sure about the scent at first, but after curing for a few days, I love it. It is lightly scented because I didn't want to go overboard. It smells mostly minty, but the other scents come through nicely.

Can you think of any good names?

It will be available on the website around February 10th!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

DIY Jewelry Hanger

I've had one of those jewelry cabinets for a while, but I've gotten to the point where I don't really care for it. I wanted something more open and a little more fun! I read a lot of tutorials about other people's DIY hangers and started looking for something that would work for me.

This summer, I found this really fun rack at Goodwill and thought it might just be perfect! It had little bands on the ends of each slat, so I cut those off. Then, I filled in the name with putty and sanded it as smooth as I could. I won't lie, I over did it one time and had to add some more putty. It didn't come out that smooth in the end, but my plan was to cover it up anyway.

 I found some different types of hangers at the home improvement store around the corner. I tried to measure everything evenly to make it look nice, but of course, I counted wrong. Luckily, the two that I counted wrong on, I had some similar hooks, so I made it work. I evenly spaced out hooks on the first two slats for necklaces. I made sure not to line them up, so they don't hang on top of each other. The bottom was for bracelets and the one above for earrings. I figured that would spread everything out nicely.
Hooks for necklaces
Earring hooks on top and bracelet hooks on bottom

Then, I painted the whole thing in a dark brown. It is really dark, almost black and I think it looks awesome.

Then, I got stuck. I couldn't decide what to do with the top of the whole thing. It easily pops on and off, so I could have hung it up anyway, but I didn't want to. So, it sat in the garage on my paint table for months. When I decided to rearrange my bedroom, I decided it was time to finish it. I used a silver paint pen to write Jewelry on the top. BUT, I don't like it.
I love the overall look, but I need to redo the lame top. HELP!

It works, but I don't like the way it looks. The whole thing looks really cute, but the top looks like I just slapped something down with no thought. Which, is what I did! Do you have any ideas about what I could do? I would love to hear your ideas for making it look as awesome as it should!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My First Video-Ombre Soap Making

I made my first video a couple of months back. I did it on a whim, so it is a little rough. I had some friends over to visit and one watched Hayden while the other helped me make soap. We decided to record the session and see how it turned out. 

After watching it, I decided not to post it. But, after thinking about it more, I figure "why not?" I had fun doing it. The soap turned out nice. Plus, my helper kept asking about it :)

Here is the link to my video.


Here is a picture of the finished soap:
Lavender vanilla scented ombre soap.
These looked so pretty and smelled awesome! I sold out really fast this past season.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Rebatch! A Success...

As a soapmaker, I have always cringed at the thought of having to rebatch soap. HELLO! IT WAS SUPPOSED TO WORK THE FIRST TIME!!! But, it happens. Usually, I end up chopping it up and giving it away to friends and family because I just can't bring myself to sell something that did not turn out anything like my vision. Once, I made it into soap balls and sold some, gave others away to kids at the farmer's markets.

I have recently found out that rebatching your soap does not have to be all bad. I was reading about rebatching adventures over at Great Cakes Soapworks and I thought about my bowl of soap shreds and scraps and decided to give it a try.

Well, my first batch did not go well. I don't think I let it cook long enough or didn't add enough liquid. I might try rebatching the rebatch :)

My second try was much better! Here is my process...

First, add soaps shreds and small chunks to your crock pot. You can see, this is from lots of different batches. I added 8 oz of water for 2 lbs of soap because some of the shreds were of unknown origin.
 I let it cook a really long time on low heat. I kept going in to stir. Eventually, it looked really moist and mostly uniform. I added a few white balls and pink chunks to give it a little something extra. I put those in and let them sit in the hot soap for a while. I didn't want them to dissolve into my mix, but I wanted them to absorb a little moisture and be incorporated well.
 This is my soap in the mold. I used buttercream and snickerdoodle fo, which is why it is so brown. Because it was pretty liquid, this step was pretty easy. I used a big spoon to put it in the mold, I wanted to make sure I got it into the corners. Then, I tapped (slammed) my mold on the counter a few times (lots and lots) to really pack everything down.
 He is the soap out of the mold the next day. You can see it have some discoloring to do, but I think that will help some of the chunks to stand out more. I'm going to let them sit for a bit to let the water evaporate. I really don't think I over did it though because these are pretty firm already. Then I'll clean them up and go from there.
I know they aren't the prettiest soaps ever and really, I should probably keep my scraps separate, but I found a use of all the scrap soap we end up with, but never know what to do with it. Stay tuned, these will probably go up on the website soon. I'm kind of thinking about selling them to raise money for another turtle nest. What do you think?

I'll let you know how the rebatch of my rebatch goes.

Friday, January 4, 2013


I've been wanting to rearrange furniture in the bedrooms for a while, it just hasn't happened. Kinda like a lot of other thing, but I finally got it done,

Hayden isn't a baby anymore (tear...), so he needed a more toddler friendly room that he could play in. We took the front off his crib two months back because he was constantly trying to climb IN the crib. I even found some sheets and a small comforter that I liked, but we hadn't gotten around to a new bed. I was planning on several changes: a new toddler bed, repainting, some new wall decor and some new curtains. But, none of that is in the budget now.

However, I still managed to rearrange and make it look better and feel roomier. First, I removed the blanket box that he loves to climb on and jump off of. He doesn't need it now anyway. Next, I culled the herd of stuffed animals and made them fit in the hammock I found on amazon. I moved the bed so it wasn't centered in the room and moved the small shelf that used to hold changing table stuff to be his bedside table. I hung an adorable Ikea lamp so he can easily turn on the light in his room. I hung a small coat rack that I found ages ago at Goodwill and finally fixed up. Last, I removed the changing pad from his dresser. 
I was trying to keep him out of the shot and he kept running in and out of it laughing "No pictures mommy."

 He now has way fewer books on his shelf, many were way too old for him, so I cut it down to just the ones he really loves to read. He also has a few more toys, so he can sit in his room and play. I know the hammock is a little low, but he is a little short and he's supposed to be able to access it. I left the nursery rhymes decor because I didn't want bare walls or windows. I also would have liked to paint the dresser a different color.
Again, he was "getting out of the picture." Forgive the unmade bed, we were actually getting ready for bed.
I love the little lamp! He now has a table beside his bed for his animals, water, and turtle. Now, he isn't trying to get it all in bed with him.
Crooked picture
Isn't this cute! I found it for $4 forever ago, but never got around to doing anything with it. I decided to paint and decoupage it. The yellow paper actually matches the letters I did for his initials and the other paper is really similar to the other side of his comforter. I hung it low so he can use it. Really, he just stares and makes faces in the mirror, but that works. Bonus: now I have a place to put his coats within easy reach.

I also did a little rearranging in my room. I moved the bed under the window because I love morning sunshine. I also hung my jewelry organizer and cleaned everything off! It feels good to have a clean room. I still need to organize the closet, but hey, I'm getting there. Also, I have to clean the upstairs again because lots of stuff got shoved up there as I cleared stuff out!

Has your Spring Cleaning started early?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year-New Goals

Well, it is a new year. There were a lot of changes in my life this past year. I'm sure you've noticed that I haven't been around a lot. Most of that has to do with work, but other more recent changes have really changed my schedule.

About a month ago, I asked my partner or almost 6 years to move out. It was a very hard decision for both of us, but in the long run, I think it is for the best. Hayden is adjusting well and we both still care for him, that won't change. Sharing custody of our new girl in April will be harder, but I think we will be able to make it work.

Between adjusting to life as a single mom and trying to keep up with the work load at school, it has been a little tough for me to keep up and get everything I need done. I have kept up with my orders and shows; I even managed to finish up some of the things I needed to do on my website, but a lot of the computer things have fallen behind.

In light of the fact that I have less time to get stuff done and I have more to do on my own and I will soon have a newborn to care for, my goals for this year will be relatively simple.

Business Goal: Keep up with the current level of business that I am currently doing. This will include the few wholesale customers I have, but I'm not going to focus on adding any. Doing all of the shows and markets I currently do, but not really trying to add more. You get the idea. While I would love to grow my business and expand, at this point, I have to be honest about the fact that I'm struggling to keep up with the amount of work I have to do. I desperately want to keep my business because my goal to eventually be able to quit my day job hasn't changed, but the time scale will have to be adjusted a little. The great thing about goals though...they can be changed. So, maybe things will be easier than I expect and I'll have time to do everything I need to do and grow my business.

Personal Goal: Focus on giving my family what they need and take care of my own needs. I think that is probably a little too broad, but really this means a lot of things that I don't want to leave out. I want to get Hayden involved in group activities such as swim classes and soccer. I am still hoping to buy a house despite the looming medical bills I will have. I actually have a long list of things I am planning to get done, but I don't see any reason for you to have to read the whole thing.

Another big goal: Keep up with my blogging, I actually enjoy it and the interactions I get from it.

I hope you can forgive my recent absence and be patient as I try to get my life back in the order.