Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

Today we remember and honor those who gave their lives in service to our country.  I am so grateful to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

As an Army Mom, I also want to extend a very heartfelt thank you to the families and friends of men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country.  Words are insufficient in light of your loss. 
How are you observing Memorial Day? 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Personalized Soap

The other day I made some soaps with pictures and graphics placed in them.  One thing I really love about these soaps are that the possibilities for shapes, sizes, and embeds are infinite. 

The photo will stay in the soap through several uses.  The photo is printed onto water soluble paper, so it’s more than skin deep, shall we say.  However, as the soap is used, the photo will slowly disappear. 

The possibilities with this are endless.  The beach scenes are scented with a fun fragrance that smells like a carful of friends on their way home from the beach (minus the sweat).

Lettering can also be included, so dates, names and sayings can also be embedded.  In the future, I'll offer additional designs.  Customized versions of these with words and/or photos would be great for wedding favors, shower favors, hostess gifts, anniversary gifts, birthday gifts, and so on. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Oatmeal Soap

Last week I made a couple of my most requested soaps.

Oatmeal, Milk and Honey
Cold Process Soap from Scratch

They are so fun to make because I know people are going to want them and enjoy them.

Here's a video of me making the Oatmeal Soap.  It is fragranced with Oatmeal, Milk and Honey fragrance from Bramble Berry.  It also contains ground oatmeal, which adds interesting texture and is mildly exfoliating.  Oatmeal is also wonderful for our skin.

This is my first soap with the Pink Blender from Bramble Berry that I got for Mother's Day.
You can watch the video on You Tube or you can click on the video below.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lime Green Frog Soap

I’m rarely at a loss for words.  But the past few days, words for this blog have escaped me. So I took my temperature.  Just in case I’m coming down with something.  The result was 97.8.  So I don’t think I’m sick.

While pondering where my words went, I walked by this cute little frog soap.  I don’t have much to say about him, but he makes me smile.  He is scented with a sweet lime fragrance.  Oh. And he's on sale for 20% off right now in my Etsy shop.

I want to make lots more of these in many colors.  I seem to be into bright colors of late.  I especially enjoy making bright primary, neon and rainbow themed colors.  What other color combos would be good for these little frogs?  They are the perfect size for children’s hands.

Well, I’m off to see if I can find where my words are hiding.  And maybe I'll make some soap while I'm at it :-)

Thanks for reading!

PS - Carol, here is a picture of the multi color fish.  The lines between colors are blurred.  I can do them more distinct if you prefer.  Just let me know :-)  Also, I just listed a these fish on Etsy in case you want to take a look at what the rainbow colors would look like.  The fish come either as a set or individually.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Soap Pictures

The Coconut and Cherry Blossom soaps are almost finished curing. 

If you watched the cutting video of the coconut soap cut on YouTube, you can see that the bottom portion of the coconut soap has darkened from when it was first cut. 

Today I made two different soaps from scratch and made videos.  I’ll post the videos after I get them edited and resized for web viewing.  These are the first two batches I made using my new pink stick blender. 

The soaps I made today are two of my best sellers.  Any guesses which ones they were?

I’ll tell you later.

In the meantime, here are some pictures of the Cherry Blossom Soap.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Video Adventures

I just posted another video to YouTube.  I have a long way to go to get the hang of this video stuff.  I hope practice helps.  You can watch the video below or on YouTube.

I spent way too much time trying to figure out how to edit the video.  But my persistence paid off!  I was able to trim the 13 minute video (yawwwwwwwwwn) down to about five minutes.  A good three minutes of the video in original form was of a pan of soap just sitting while I was off camera getting other things ready. 

As I get more practice at this, I hope to learn to have everything in one spot ready to go so the videos don’t contain minutes of still shots.

I’ll post pictures of the soaps later.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

I’m so excited to finally get to share the pictures from the soaping morning with the kids at Plaid Peacock.  Thanks to Plaid Peacock for supplying me with these great pictures!

If you haven’t been to Plaid Peacock in downtown Waterloo, you really must go.  The restored building is absolutely beautiful, and the variety of Iowa art and products is sure to have something for everyone.

The classroom area is very pleasant, with plenty of space and a huge window looking out onto the Public Market across the street.

Now, back to the kids. 

A couple of the kids showed up a tad early, so they helped me with last minute preparations.  We also chit chatted and got to know each other a bit. 

Our first project was a soap the kids mad for themselves.  It was a practice soap so they would have some experience before making their gift soap.

They could choose between a fish or a robot.  While they were doing that, they waiting for me to microwave the glycerin soap base.  Once the base was melted, they added fragrance and stirred.  After putting their toy into the soap mold, they carefully poured soap over the toy.

Next we moved on to the gift soap.  I pre-made little soap spheres with glitter and the kids got to choose some for their soap. 

They put the spheres into a clamshell mold.  Then they waited for their cup of soap to get melted.  Once they had a cup of melted soap, they added some yummy pearberry fragrance.  After spraying the spheres with rubbing alcohol to help the overpour stick, they carefully poured their melted soap over the spheres.  The hardest part was waiting for the soap to set.
While we waited for the soap to set, they made another gift.  Each child got to make some bath salts.  I brought some little salts, kind of like table salts, that already had fragrance added.  Each child got a couple of spoonfuls of those, and then got a big scoop of larger sea salts.  These were placed into a yogurt carton. 

The lids went on and the kids shook shook shook the salts to get everything good and mixed.  Once things were pretty well mixed (it got kind of noisy!), we added a few drops of color to the salts.  I was fun to see the color choices.  There was some color combining going on, and all of the salts ended up with absolutely gorgeous color.  The kids noticed that some pieces of salt were darker than others. 

Oh, I just loved working with these kids.  It’s so nice to have such enthusiastic and interested kids. 
While we continued to wait for the gift soap to set, the kids made cards and gift wrap.  I enjoyed watching the creativity of these precious children.  While they made cards and gift wrap, we also talked about having another soap activity in June. 

 Plaid Peacock and I haven’t set anything up yet, but we would certainly love to do another morning of soaping with kids.  I better get going on checking my schedule to see when we can make that happen.  I hope the kids will come back and that a few more will come join us.  I'm also thankful that one of the moms stayed and helped out with the class.  She was a life saver!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Shred Soap Cut

Watching and posting soap videos could get addictive.  It’s so fun to see what other soapers do and it’s fun to share some of my soap making adventures. 

I posted the video of cutting the shred soap. I had a little trouble with matching the sound and video up, but overall I think the video shows how the soap turned out.
You can watch the video by clicking on it below, or by going to YouTube

I'm anxious to get some still pictures of these soaps.  Each one is a one of a kind.

On another note, keep an eye out for pictures of the soapy fun the kids and I had at the Plaid Peacock last weekend.  I’m so excited to share more about that with you.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Soap Making Video

Yesterday I uploaded my first video ever to YouTube.  You can watch it and leave comments on it here.  Or you can click on the video below and watch it there.

A friend (hi, Carol!) introduced me to several soap making video channels on YouTube.  It’s a wonder I get anything else done besides watching “soaps” all day. 

You can see Carol’s videos here.  I love her style!

The soap in this video has shreds of other Cold Process soaps embedded into it.  I layered various shreds and then did an overpour of Cold Process with a fresh clean scent. 

I’ll show you the cut bars on another day. The soap still needs some curing time, so I don’t know yet how it will act when used. I hope the shreds and overpour stick together.

Thanks for reading (and for watching if you took that plunge)!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Pomegranate Soap from Scratch

It is a gorgeous day here in Iowa!  The temperature is a mild 70 degrees and the humidity is low. I think I saw a Baltimore Oriole at my feeder this morning.  I’m not sure.  It flew away before I could get a picture to show and get help figuring out just what kind of bird it was.
Now, on to soap!
This pomegranate soap smells so good!  It’s a lot like bath and body’s Moonlight Pomegranate.  The fragrance is rich and complex, and it holds really well in cold process soap.

I have made several batches of pomegranate cold process soap, but none of them had all the goodies that this one has.  I used some activated charcoal for its color, exfoliation and detoxifying properties.  I mixed 4 different labcolors together to get the purple color.  In retrospect, maybe I could have just used purple J 

I also added some sodium lactate to this batch.  It should help the soap last even longer.  I have also read that it can increase the lather. 

These are available on Etsy or the SoapArt website.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Soaping With Kids

This morning I had the pleasure of making soap with seven delightful kids at Plaid Peacock.  It was so much fun!!

The parents graciously gave me permission to post some pictures on the blog, so I'll be sharing some in the next few days.  I probably need to wait until after Mother's Day so I don't ruin any possible surprises!  I'm pretty sure it's going to be tough for some of the kids to wait until Mother's Day to give Mom her gift.

If any of you parents read this - thank you so much for letting me spend some fun time with your children.  This was a perfect group of wonderful kids.  The children were so helpful and enjoyable. They were patient when they had to wait for me, were very polite in all aspects, and seemed to have a good time.

One of the kids asked when the next kids soaping day will be, so I asked when they would like it to be.  I'm pretty sure I heard a few "tomorrow" replies to that one.  I do hope we can do it again soon.

A special thanks to Plaid Peacock for letting us have this fun morning of soaping.  You can see more of what's going on at Plaid Peacock at their website or their Facebook page.  And if you live in the area, be sure to stop by and check it out.  There's something for everyone.  It's a great way to support local artists and small businesses.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Smiling Piggy Soaps Make Great Party Favors

People are loving these smiling piggy soaps as party favors. 

Earlier this week I was knee deep in piggies! Well, not really. But it felt like it. In a good way.

I produced, wrapped and labeled several of these cute smiling piggy soaps (without boxes) for birthday party favors. I can only make three at a time as I only have three molds. So it takes a while to produce a sizeable litter.

I love making products that customers request. So I enjoyed every minute of it (except for that one little wrestling match I had with a piece of Saran. The Saran won).

The smiling piggies also come packaged in a clear plastic box.

Do you know someone who likes pigs? Are you thinking of putting together a pig themed party? If so, I hope you will keep my little piggy soaps in mind.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Happy May Day!

Happy May Day!

This day always brings back fond memories of filling cups with candy and popcorn, then searching for violets and lily of the valley in bloom so they could be included as well.  What a great day!  Is there any other day that kids (big and little) have permission to, and are even encouraged to, ring the doorbell and run?

Sidenote - one day my friend and I rang the front doorbell at my house and then ran.  My friend was in on it once.  I, on the other hand, was having so much fun I rang the bell then ran several times.  My Mom figured it out.  She was NOT happy.  Turns out she was doing dishes and my ring happy prank kept her from getting that chore done as efficiently as she wanted.  Who knew?  Anyway, that was a one-time deal.  She was quite gracious about it, but I did not repeat that rude behavior again. 

Except on May Day.  And then I limited myself to one ring and run per house.  And I left behind a basketful of candy, wilted flowers and stale popcorn.

Did you ever make May baskets out of construction paper and staples?  Lots of staples?  Or put a pipe cleaner through a styrofoam cup to make a basket?

I hope you enjoy some May Day memories today.  And if someone rings your doorbell and runs, leaving behind a beautiful May basket of goodies just for you, Enjoy!

Thanks for reading!