Friday, March 30, 2012

The Soap Monster

This is the Soap Monster.

I have been wanting to order a Soap Monster from Bramble Berry for quite some time.  But I was afraid of it.  Recently I called myself a little chicken, decided to get over it, and took the plunge ordered glycerin soap base from Bramble Berry in 25 pound boxes. Yes.  Boxes, plural.

I love Bramble Berry’s bases because I feel that they are as close to natural as I’m going to get in a pre-made glycerin base at an affordable price. This is their premium clear base that I have been using since I started making soap.  I dubbed it the soap monster because cutting up a 25 pound block of glycerin soap base seemed intimidating.  Even after reading the SoapQueen Tutorial on Cutting Blocks of soap, I was intimidated.

Let me tell you about my first experience with cutting these monster blocks of soap down to size.

First I want to say thank you to my Dad and my Girl Scout leaders for some great training on knife safety and proper handling of knives.  This information was invaluable as I tackled the soap blocks.  If you ever do this, make sure you know and follow proper knife safety.

Here’s the box the soap came in.  It’s about 13 x 10 x 5 inches.  The soap was poured directly into a plastic bag inside the box. 

Some of the plastic was into the soap a ways, but I was able to pull it out just fine.  If you look closely, you can see little "bag tracks" where I pulled the bag away from the soap.

I started by cutting off a strip of soap about 1” wide from the side of the block.  Glycerin soap base is interesting to work with.  It's sticky and slippery all at once.  It requires a good deal of caution and a bit of elbow grease. 

The one inch slice you see above had some bubbles that needed to be shaved off. 

I used a cheese slicer/planer to do that job. 

It worked great, and I didn’t lose valuable soap base.  Had I used a knife, I think I would have ended up with more waste. 

See the radio in the background?  It was tuned to KNWS, a Christian radio station in Waterloo, Iowa.  That made the time spent on this much more enjoyable.  I’ll spare you the audio of me singing along with the radio.

Here's the progress - this is about 2 pounds out of the 25.

Almost halfway finished!

It turns out the Soap Monster isn't really a monster after all.  Cutting up the block wasn’t difficult; it just took a little time. I had no reason to be intimidated.  So if you're considering buying lots of glycerin soap base, this is definitely a great way to go.

I’m happy with what I got done this time around and will save the rest for another day.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Happy Something on a Stick Day

Did you know that today is “Something on a Stick Day”? 

My favorite something on a stick is, of course, Soap on a Stick. 

I could make so many variations of these.  Once again I am in the "so many soap ideas and so little time" mode.

You can check out the photo gallery of things on sticks at Something On A Stick here.

And here are some recipes for food on a stick.

Have a happy Something On A Stick Day, and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Flip Flop Soap Sets

A few weeks ago I was longing for summer (that was before summer weather showed up in Iowa).  So I made some flip flop soap sets.  These sets come with a left and a right flip flop for a complete pair.  Each flip flop weighs almost 2 ounces, so together they come up to roughly a standard bar of soap (if there is such a thing).

Each set is made of three different colors.  First I pour the flowers that make up the strap and top. 

Next I pour the sandal part.

Last, I pour a bit of white to make the sole. 

The color combos are limitless.  How cute are the litle butterflies that are next to the flip flops? 

The flip flop soaps are scented with a fresh beach type scent that smells like the inside of the car after everyone piles in after a day on the beach playing in the sun and sand.  Well, almost like the smell in the car.  You won't smell sweat or stinky feet in these flip flop soaps.

Here’s how the flip flop soap sets look once they are ready to go.  If you click on the picture, the link will take you to the SoapArt site where these are offered for sale.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, March 24, 2012


It's the weekend, and my ambition level isn't too high.  I look forward to helping out at the Lion's Club Chicken Dinner tonight.

While in my less-than-ambitious state, I happened to read Soap Queen's blog.  The post gave some information about Google+ that was very helpful. 

I took the plunge and created a personal profile and added a business page for SoapArt.  I am following Bramble Berry on Google+ and have one person in my circle (hi, Megan!). 

I look forward to making more contacts with friends, customers and other soap makers.

If you have a minute, please hop on over and say hi.  And if you are on Google+, I'd love it if you'd follow my page.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fragrance Set Winner Choices

Yesterday I announced the winners of the fragrance sets.  I thought I'd let you know what they chose.  Two winners wanted fragrance #4.  That one is a very fresh Lavender Green Tea fragrance.  I don't care for straight lavender, but I do love this fragrance.  Bramble Berry has added Lavender Green Tea to their fragrance line. 

Look for more of this in the future.  I already have the fragrance in my shopping cart and have all kinds of ideas rolling around in my head for how I will use it.  So many ideas - so little time.  Sigh.

Although the second winner didn't get her first choice of fragrance, she will get her second choice, which is #3.  It's called Honey Orange.  It did not make it into the Bramble Berry lineup, but it's wonderful nonetheless.  I can smell the honey in it, but I just don't get the orange note.  The fragrance still smells purple to me. 

The third fragrance to be chosen is #7.  It's the one that smells like Hawaii to me. It's called Pikake Flower.  It is being offered by Bramble Berry as a limited edition.  If it proves to be popular, it may get added to their regular fragrance lineup.

I plan to offer some of the remaining sets on Etsy and in local retailers.  So if you're interested in any of them, please let me know.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Winners Are . . .

Gift Set Giveaway Sweepstakes Winners

Happy Fragrance Day! 

Congratulations to the three winners of the giveaway sweepstakes sets!!  Can you tell I'm really excited by all the exclamation marks?
As a reminder, the set consists of items I made while testing fragrances as a member of the S.O.A.P. Panel for the super soap supplier Bramble Berry.

Each gift set includes one of each of the following:
  • Hand-knit cotton wash cloth
  • Bar of melt-and-pour soap
  • Lotion bar
  • Bar of soap from scratch (cold process) soap
  • Wax waffle
Here's a picture of one of the sets minus the wash cloth.

The winners are – Drum Roll, Please:

·         Rona Messmore

·         Morgan Boyer

·         Connie Jones

Woohoo!  Congratuations!! 

Each winner gets to choose one of the fragrances for her coordinated gift set.

The summary of my impressions of the fragrances are here.

Bramble Berry’s announcement of the fragrances that will be added to their line is here.

Thank you to everyone who entered.  The contest was fun, and I am so happy to be sharing some of the test products with a few people.  Watch for future contests here and on SoapArt's Facebook page. 

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Making Lists

Are you a list maker?  If you are, some of this will make perfect sense to you.  If you are not a list maker, I will ask you this.  How do you do it?  How do you keep track of what needs done, what’s being done and what’s been done?

I have many lists.  I have sheets of paper all over the place in not so neat piles.  Plural.  I have daily lists, weekly lists, monthly lists, and annual lists.  I have must do lists, hope to do lists, and lists of things I want to do but may never get done.  Whew.  I’m a little overwhelmed just thinking about all those lists.

In addition to my numerous lists on paper, I have lists on the computer, and I have a couple of planner apps on my iPad that let me make lists.  I’m in the process of switching from one app to another on the iPad.  You know why?  Because the first one wouldn’t let me cross things off once they were done.  And it didn’t keep track of what had been done.  I get a certain amount of satisfaction out of crossing things off my lists.  And sometimes when I do something that’s not on a list, it gets added just so I can cross it off! 

Here are a few things on my soap to-do-in-the-near-future list.

          Wrap and Label Flip Flop Soaps
          Make Lotion Bars
          Make Lip Balms
          Make Shaving Soap
          Make Charcoal Soap

Do you have any helpful tips for effective list making, keeping track of lists, completing to-do lists, etc.? 

Any funny stories about lists?  I’d love it if you would post your thoughts here.

The tip "get off the computer and do something" is already being taken under advisement. 

Thanks for reading!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Cleaning and Soap

I cleaned my house.  I’m not looking for applause; I’m just letting you know because my reward for cleaning the house was cutting and stamping soap!  As I proceeded through the mundane cleaning tasks, I kept reminding myself of the soap I would get to cut after the cleaning spree.

The design of the first soap didn’t turn out at all as I had planned.  I was going for crisp lines and a geometric pattern.  As soon as I started pouring, I knew the soap was at too light of a trace to make the design I had in mind.  Sometimes I’m not very patient (Mom, if you're reading this I think you just laughed a little bit.  Or at least smiled).  So rather than waiting for the soap to get a stronger trace, I went ahead and poured.  I’m very happy with the result, even though it does not have the straight lines I originally planned.  Say hello to Sherbet Swirl.

The next one didn’t come out quite the color I was going for.  It’s pomegranate.  I was going for more of a reddish-purple.  I love the deep purple I got out of this.  I’ll be using this dark purple again.  The dark line is colored with activated charcoal.  It's great stuff.

The final soap that I cut after I decided to stop cleaning (note: the cleaning is never “finished”, but I accomplished what was on my list, so I stopped) is clove.  There is always a bar of this in my shower.  And my other shower.  Yes, it’s great to have two bathrooms with showers, but now we’re back to that cleaning thing.  I digress.  Again.  Anyway, the clove smells great.  It smells like my dentist’s office.  I love that it’s scrubby too.  Did you know that clove has natural deodorizing properties?   The soap isn’t anything special to look at, but it is a scrubby natural soap with lots of great cleaning ability. 

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pi Day

I've been waiting all year to say this.

Happy Pi Day

Yep.  Today is Pi Day.  I’m a math teacher in my day job.  So this is a big day for me.  Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Pi = 3.14 ish.  We use that as the common estimation because the real Pi is irrational.  You can divide forever (a nightmare to many people, I understand) and the number will never end or repeat.  How cool is that?

Now this part is really cool (if you’re a math type).  According to a Pi Day site , computers have figured Pi to over one trillion digits past the decimal.  How exciting is that? 

Hey, there – are you still awake?

I don’t have any Pi soap.  Rats.  I’ll have to do something about that before next year.  I don’t have any pie soap either, but here’s a picture of a pie tart gel candle.  I know it’s not nearly as exciting as Pi soap, but it’s as close as I can come . . . for now, anyway.

Thanks for sticking with me through this diversion into part of my little world of math!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Girl Scouts Day and Horseshoe Soaps

Girl Scouts Day and Horseshoe Soaps?  How do these relate?  Let me tell you.  First, let me say Happy Birthday Girl Scouts!

Now I'll explain the connection.  As a girl, I was in the Girl Scouts for several years.  I loved selling cookies, and tried my best to sell enough each year to earn my way to camp.  Girl Scout camp was a highlight of many of my summers.  One year I got to go to Girl Scout Horse Camp.  It was a wonderful experience.  I love all kinds of animals and getting to learn to ride and care for horses was so fantastic.

Because of the wonderful memories I have of Girl Scout Horse Camp, I wanted to show you the horseshoe soap I made.

They are fun and easy to make.  These full size soaps are scented with a leather fragrance.   Here’s a picture of the soaps before they were wrapped and labeled. 

I wrapped them in shrink wrap so their appearance and fragrance will hold up a bit better.  The downside to the shrink wrap is that it’s harder to smell the fragrance before the wrapping is removed.  The ingredient label is on the backside.  In the photo below, the soap is not yet wrapped.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Happy Birthday Oreo Cookie

The 100 Years Birthday of the Oreo Cookie almost got past me.  How does that happen?  After all, chocolate is an integral part of my daily life.  Ask me the last time I went a day without chocolate.  You'll probably get a blank stare followed by nervous laughter.

Did you hear that March 6th was the 100th birthday of the Oreo Cookie?  I found it kind of funny that the Oreo’s birthday is on the same day as Dentist’s Day (see March 6th post).  Smile!

Remember the chocolate sandwich cookies (almost Oreos) I made during my recent chocolate frenzy?  Well, here’s a picture of some of them all packaged up and ready to go.  The plastic bag makes getting a good picture very challenging, but use your imagination and I'm sure you can see the cuteness of the set of 4 cookies in a bag.

Happy Belated Birthday, Oreo!

Thanks for reading!  Please note: I'm thanking you for reading.  I know Oreos don't read.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Baskets for a Benefit for Hunter Erb

Yesterday I spent part of the day putting some gift baskets together.  My daughter and son-in-law bought them to donate to a silent auction to benefit their little nephew Hunter Erb.  Thank you, Shannon and Jon. 

Hunter was born prematurely in November 2011.  After spending a month in the hospital, he got to come home.  He is still on oxygen and will have open heart surgery soon.  And did I mention that he is completely adorable?  He is such a cutie pie.  The benefit is to raise money to help the family with the many expenses associated with the surgery.

Here are some of the baskets I put together:

These are two of the soaps tucked in the basket for Mom, Dad and baby. Isn’t the Onsie soap cute? The mold is from Bramble Berry.  The bottom one is Feel Good Spa Soap.  It has essential oils that are said to be uplifting and balancing.  I thought that might be something the parents can use.

This is a shaving set.  The washcloth is a 100% cotton knit cloth made by the mother of a dear friend of mine.

Oatmeal cold process soap is one of my best sellers.  So is the Oatmeal, Milk and Honey lotion bar.  The oatmeal cookie wax waffle makes my mouth water!  And the oatmeal cookie lip balm is delicious.  Using it keeps me from eating the wax waffle.


The birthday gift set has a birthday cupcake candle in a mason jar, a birthday cupcake soap (it's in a plastic box), a cupcake lotion bar and a buttercream frosting wax waffle.  Oh, and the lip balm is vanilla ice cream.

My thoughts and prayers will be with Hunter and his family now in the coming months as they walk through this challenging time in their lives.  If you are interested in donating money to help Hunter’s family, please email me at  I’ll let you know the name and address of the bank that is handling donations.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Happy Dentist's Day!!

March 6th is Dentist’s Day

Do you have a dentist?  Do you know a dentist?  Maybe you can celebrate Dentist’s Day (March 6th) by thanking your dentist for taking such good care of your pearly whites.

This molar soap would also be a good thank you gift that your dentist would likely appreciate.  I have considered making them with cavities included, but haven’t taken that step yet.  What do you think?  Should I offer them with black cavity-like holes in them?  Your dentist might get a good chuckle out of it.  Or he/she might just get grossed out.  Nah.  That won't happen.

You can see more about or buy molar soap at SoapArtOnline

This molar does not smell like halitosis.  I don't make any promises like that about my very own molars.  The molar soap has a nice minty fragrance.  I haven’t found a halitosis fragrance yet.  Maybe by next year I will.

Thank you to my dentist, Dr. Merritt Jones. He has a sign in his office about painless dentistry.  I look at it while I wait my turn and have confidence that the day's appointment will be exactly that.  Painless.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, March 5, 2012

French Green Clay Spa Soap Cold Process Soap for Body and Face

This French Green Clay Spa soap is all natural.  By that I mean that no synthetic fragrances or colors are added.  I love color; I love fragrance.  I usually add synthetic colors and fragrances to my all natural cold process soap in order to get the results I desire.  But this one needs nothing more than the French Green Clay and the beneficial essential oils of tea tree and lavender.

During this photo shoot I felt like a little kid again.  But instead of playing with blocks, I was playing with soap.  In this photo the French Green Clay soaps are gymnasts making a pyramid. Welcome to my world of random and sometimes odd thoughts.  I will spare you the other four shots of the soaps making geometric patterns.

This French Green Clay soap is full of ingredients that pamper skin.  It’s a wonderful all-over body soap, but also makes a superb facial soap.   Here’s why.

It contains French Green Clay which is an excellent detoxifier and has up to 19 minerals that are believed to help prevent the appearance of premature aging.  Hmmm.  Maybe that’s why I felt like a kid during the photo shoot!  Anyway, the French Green Clay gives the bar a wonderful gentle exfoliating quality.  I love a little scrub in my facial cleanser.  But I don’t want to walk away with scratches on my face.  Hence the gentle exfoliation.

The soap also contains Tea Tree Essential Oil, which is well known for its various properties of treating problem skin.  Some things that tea tree is said to do:

Serve as an anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory agent. 

Provide relief from insect bites.

Soothe and clear rashes.

Reduce acne. 

Tea Tree Essential oil is also said to help relieve athlete’s foot and soften corns.  Those aren’t qualities I need in a soap I plan to use on my face.  But they can be quite beneficial when the soap is used as an all-over body soap.  Tea Tree Essential Oil even gets credit for improving dandruff, so this soap is also a wonderful head-to-toe soap.

If you want to read more about this soap, or if you would like to purchase your own bar, they are now available at the SoapArtOnline website. 

Don't forget to get your name entered as many times as you'd like in the Sweepstakes giveaway of some sets I made using the Bramble Berry S.O.A.P. Panel Test Fragrances.
You can earn entries by commenting on this blog post, commenting on SoapArt Facebook posts, Sharing SoapArt Facebook Posts, Pinning SoapArt products, and signing up for the SoapArt e-newsletter.  Complete rules are available here.  The sweepstakes ends March 20th, with a random drawing of three winners on March 21st.

Thanks for reading! 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Chocolate Frenzy

I read in Reader’s Digest a while back that pies are out and donuts are in.  That made me hungry for pie.  And donuts. 

I addressed that craving by making chocolate fudge donut soaps.  As long as I was making chocolate donuts, I also made ice cream sandwich soaps and chocolate sandwich cookie soaps.  My kitchen smelled chocolicious!

Here are the results of my chocolate frenzy. 

Thanks for reading!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Orchid Soap

Isn’t it beautiful? 

A friend of mine who recently returned from Hawaii presented this orchid soap to me as a gift.  When she first gave it to me I thought, “What a cute little corsage!”   When I looked more closely and saw that it was soap, I was blown away.

I love the way it is packaged.  I’m impressed that it made the trip from Hawaii to Iowa without any decrease in quality.  It is so pretty, and it smells wonderful too.  I appreciate the craftsmanship that went into it and will enjoy looking at it and displaying it. 

Will I use it?  Now way!  Instead, I will continue to enjoy its beauty and fragrance for years to come.  And I will think of my friend every time I look at it and stick my nose near it for a little sniff of floral luxury.

Thank you so much, Pamm, for the wonderful soap gift!  I will treasure it.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Goat Milk Soap

Have you ever used goat milk soap?  Goat milk soap is very creamy and moisturizing.  Here’s a picture of the last one I made.  It was made from scratch using the cold process method.  That means that I combine warm oils and a lye mixture then let the chemical process of saponification (chemical reaction that occurs when oils and lye are mixed, resulting in soap) do the rest.  In this batch I added the goat milk at trace, just as the saponification process was beginning.

I scented it with Bramble Berry’s Jasmine Dreams.  The Jasmine has stayed very strong in the soap.  I wish you could smell it through the computer.

I love using this soap.  If it sits in the shower it gets a little soft, making the outsides of it almost like cream soap.  It’s really hard to describe, but it feels good, bubbles nicely, and makes my skin feel moisturized and pampered.  And the fragrance and color make me smile.

The batch made just enough to partially fill an 8x8 inch pan.  I didn’t share very much of this small batch of soap; I kept most of it for myself.  I need to make more goat milk soap so I don’t run out.  Maybe I’ll be a little more generous with the next batch.  Have you used goat milk soap made from scratch by the cold process method?  If so, what are your thoughts on it?  If you have not used it, would you like to try it?

I’m having trouble deciding what fragrance to use in the next batch of goat milk soap.  Any suggestions?

Thanks for reading!