Cedar & Balsam

August 29, 2012

This is a new fragrance this year.  I went back and forth with whether to add a THIRD pine based scent. I have Christmas Wreath from last year which is a pure pine scent. Then I have Santa’s Spruce which is pine but a hint of berries and sweetness in it too (and a best seller last year).  I went back and forth, back and forth and decided to do a small batch because I just love the scent.

A camphoraceous woody blend of pine, eucalyptus, cedarwood; finished with sweet balsam.  This fragrance is composed of top notes of  orange, raspberry, and plum;  middle notes of lily, carnation, and hyacinth;  base notes of balsam, pine, eucalyptus, and cedarwood.

This summer I embedded small cubes into a batch of my Summer Melon Spritzer soap.  It was so cool looking I decided to try that for this soap.  First step was making enough cubes for a 10lb batch:

I did a light green, dark green, a white swirl in the dark green and light green.  Then I embedded them in my loaf.  I was using a DARK green mica (a new one I hadn’t tested).  And the green did not end up green.  It turned gray.  I was upset at first, but now I think it actually works.  And it gives these soaps a very different look from all my others.


Black and White Soap

August 27, 2012

I love black and white…pictures, room color themes, clothes and of course in soap.  There’s something about black and white that always seems to have this elegant and some what classic look to it.  Every so often I do and black and white design soap.  I had the desire to make a one of my winter soaps in black and white and the best choice seemed to be with Peppermint.  It’s clear…it doesn’t accelerate trace…and it just “fit” to me with the fragrance.

I decided I wanted to do embeds.  I made a whole bunch of different sized round batches of soap.  I did an in the pot swirl with these making them predominantly black.

Then I embedded them in a solid white batch and saved a little extra soap to mix with black to decorate the top with:

Cutting them was fun! Each one is different.  If I do this again I’ll probably make more embeds.  I think there was plenty of room to add more.

I had some left over mix after embedding the the soap in this batch so I swirled it and poured it into a mold.

Cut it the next day and embedded them into another batch :D  It was fun.  Definitely different from the first batch, but I love it as well.

One of my favorite parts of cutting ITP swirl is seeing what  I “see” in the swirls.  This time around I found the face of a super hero (wearing a mask).  Do you see it?


My Goddaughter’s Baptism

August 26, 2012

This weekend was a whirlwind!  Normally this blog is all about soap, but I couldn’t not share a couple of photos from Katelynn’s baptism.  I have to get photos of the actual ceremony from my family (as godmother I was occupied during the time :D).  But here’s a couple from after the ceremony…sure to make you smile and melt your heart.  I was so honored to be her godmother and can’t wait to embrace all the future responsibilities that roll holds!

Myself, Matt (her godfather) and the proud parents (Danielle & Will (my brother))

Grandma and Grandpa Hofmann

Aunt Becca (finally getting a chance to hold her…grandma and grandpa kept hogging her :D)

And this picture…because it made me laugh.  Daddy and Katelynn spending some time together.


Cranberry Fig

August 23, 2012

That year I tried about 20-25 different fall and winter fragrances.  It was my first year I had no idea what would go over well and what wouldn’t.  I learned a lot.  This year I narrowed down my Fall/Winter soaps to thirteen (technically fourteen cause I’m going to add in a pumpkin soap :)).

Here’s a list of what I went with:

  • Peppermint
  • Applejack Peel
  • Fresh Snow
  • Frankincense and Myrrh
  • Holiday Berry
  • Mulberry Spice
  • Christmas Wreath
  • Cedar & Balsam
  • Spiced Cranberry
  • Santa’s Spruce
  • Apples n’ Oak
  • Buttercream & Snickerdoodle
  • Cranberry Fig

There are a couple new ones in this list, but the rest were the most popular ones from last year.  My goal was to just have ten Fall/Winter soaps (but I’m awful at narrowing my choices down ha!).

Anyway, I’ve got them all started.  So over the next couple weeks I’ll take and post pictures of them!  I had to say I have had a lot of fun so far.  I’ve got a great variety of color and design!

The Cranberry Fig is a different design from last year (almost all are different from last year…I can’t say I was overly impressed with my designs from last winter!).

Last years Cranberry Fig:

This year I decided to go with a purple-yellow theme.  I’d been wanting to do that for a while and this FO I knew wouldn’t discolor my soaps. I also thought it’d be fun to embed some tubes.  Here’s what I ended up with:

This was just after I poured it.  Here it is sliced:

My fall/winter soaps will be ready starting at the end of September.  And by then (fingers crossed that all goes as planned) my webpage with be up!!!


Submitting Photos for Juried Craft Fairs

August 21, 2012

If you do a lot of craft fairs you’ve probably run into the words “juried event.”  I don’t mind having to go through a jury.  It usually means there’s going to be high quality work at the event and if I get a spot I’m happy.  Jury basically means you have to submit three (sometimes 4) images of your work for the committee to use as a reference for when they get together to decide who they are going to allow to a show.

Of course the hard part is choosing three good photos that are a good representation of your work.  I’ve learned a few thins over the past two years of markets when it comes to submitting photos.

  1. Take the time to take really good pictures.  Most of us do this anyway, but don’t just pull out three pictures that you happen to have on your computer.  Trust me, everyone else who is applying to the show is going to be putting forth their best pictures.
  2. Show a good variety of what you offer.
  3. Choose pictures/items that will make you stand out.
  4. Change up your pictures.  Twice a year (sometimes more often) I update my pictures.  I am always coming up with new soaps.  I try and change them up for the seasons.  I also never use the same pictures two years in a row.  I apply to many of the same events year after year.  I want to show the jury panel that I’m always updating my product and bringing something new and fun to the event.

I do mainly CP soaps.  I am also known for my cupcakes and Soap Sundaes.  Yes I do bath products, but they’re maybe 5% of what I offer.  And honestly…bath products aren’t all that interesting to look at.  My soaps, like many of yours, are “works of art” for me.  I put the most time and effort into those.  I think long and hard about designs.  I sketch them out and plan in advance before I pour a batch.  They are what get people to stop at my booth.  That’s what I need to feature.

When you can only upload three images it’s hard to choose just one soap bar.  I’m lucky, I was trained in Photo Shop and know how to use it well.  Because I have photo editing skills I’ve created a three image collage of my bar soaps and the same for my cupcakes soaps.  This allows me to show 6 pictures instead of just 2 and it gives the jury a great idea of what I do, the uniqueness and variety I offer.

It can be frustrating to not be selected, but give yourself the best chance by submitting awesome photos!  It’s worth all the extra time and effort.

These are my current submission photos:

Soap Bars

Cupcake Soaps

Sundae Soaps


Bug Off Lotion Bar and Spray

August 19, 2012

I totally forgot to tell you all about the success of my “Bug Off” spray and lotion bars.  I’ve been selling them at my markets all summer.  It’s lots of fun when people come up and tell me how it “really” worked!  I’ve been using it myself this summer and (granted I don’t go out that often, but when I do I get bit) I haven’t gotten bit this summer.

Thank you to all my testers and those that gave me great feedback!  You’re comments helped me tweak recipes a bit and make a great product!


Glycerin?

August 17, 2012

I had an interesting thing happen to my soap today.  I piped some berries on top and after 24 hours I unmolded it and found this little clear bubbles around the area I piped.  I’ve never had this happen before.  I’m thinking it’s glycerin.  Has anyone ever seen this before?

I did have this batch go through an INTENSE gel phase.  And I ended up piping the green leaves on top almost 15-20 minutes after I poured the batch (I couldn’t get the green to thicken up enough to pipe).


Awesome Swirls

August 13, 2012

Cut my Buttercream & Snickerdoodle and was DELIGHTED with the swirls I got.  So much better than the first batch.  And every bar is just as good/unique. (Sorry for the poor quality pictures).


Great Opportunity, Amazing Experience

August 11, 2012

At the end of June I was contacted by The Cotting School, a school for children with special needs, if I’d be willing to participate in their summer program.  Every Wednesday they were having a different presentation on  some aspect of hygiene.  The director wanted to know if I’d come in one afternoon and do a presentation on the history of soap and talk about how soap was made.

I accepted.  I’d gotten into soap making because I was researching the history of it.  I had all my notes and information on that still.  I pulled them out and worked on putting together a presentation.  For the second half I put together a series of slides showing the process of making soap.  I brought in some of the ingredients I use as well as the equipment.  The day before I’d made a small batch so I could bring it in and unmold it and show the students how I cut the soap.

It all went over really well.  Then it was time for a Q&A session.  I have to say I was amazed by these students.  They asked some great questions!  Questions that showed they were processing what I’d told them and thinking about how I applied it to my business.  They were AWESOME!  I have to admit I was a bit nervous going into this.  I’d never done a presentation to children before, but it all turned out great!

Yesterday I got to go participate in their “Wares Fair.”  The students all work on making different products (note cards, magnets, calendars, dog beds…) and then they sell them.  It’s a fundraiser for the school.  I was asked to participate and sell my soaps.  Many of the students remembered me (so heart warming) and they were all awesome.  It was a great day.  I’m donating a part of my proceeds to the school.  It’s just a small way I can say thank you to them for letting me participate.  I’m so blessed to have had this experience.


Apples n’ Oak Embeds

August 9, 2012

I like to create designs with embeds (which translates to: I like to create extra work for myself when making soap). :D

When I got the Apples n’ Oak fragrance I thought it’d be cool to try and create an apple inside a loaf. Thought about it a bit and decided I could create the apples with PVC tubes.

I poured a batch of green soap into a 1/2″ tube. Then in one of my loaf molds poured a flat batch of brown which I then cut into stems.

Stems!

In a larger PVC tube I pour red for the apple.

The round red soaps for the apples and the leafs (one cut, one not yet). I cut the small green tube soap in half to create a half circle for the leaf.

The base loaf I swirled pink and white, but it ended up with the white mixing in a bit more than planned and lightening up the pink…I actually really like it (even if it wasn’t how I’d planned for it to turn out).

Apples in my soap!

I had a little red left over so I poured it into one of my cube molds from Bramble Berry. It actually made for a really cool abstract apple that I almost like more than the round apples!

The “Abstract Apples” :)

I had a little extra green and it went in with some of the red soap hence this funky looking apple!

Green apple anyone?


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