Spa Bags

September 20, 2014

Love this drawstring bags.  I partnered up with Pink Pigeon Creations again to make these little spa gift bags.  The bags are: waterproof, machine wash and dry safe, and food safe.  The exterior is high quality quilting cotton, and the interior is a food grad PUL (polyurethane laminated polyester knit).

Inside each bag is a soap, lotion, salt scrub, and bath fizzies.  They make great gifts!

spa bag


Bath Bombs (Fizzies)

August 10, 2014

I have to admit I was not a fan of bath fizzies.  I had tried and tried and tried to make these.  I don’t know how many different recipes I tried.  Too many!  I’d just given up on them.  Then at the conference this past May I attended Holly Port’s class and bought her book.  I tried her recipe and by golly it worked!  So, I altered it a bit to use oils/butters I wanted and it still worked!  I was happy with the recipe and the way they left my skin feeling so soft!  They’ve been a huge hit at my markets this summer.

Bath Bombs

bath bombs bucket

I then used the same recipe to create mini balls that were perfect for foot soaks.  I have to admit I’ve soaked my feet every week!  They’re loving the attention!

Foot Fizzies

foot fizzies

Green Cleaning Products

August 4, 2014

I’ve been on a “green” cleaning kick lately.  I’ve been doing research, researching recipes, testing out new products…and I have to say I am in love with the results.

There are few key ingredients to keep on hand to make a variety of natural cleaning products:

  1. Vinegar “is a liquid consisting mainly of acetic acid (CH3COOH) and water. The acetic acid is produced by the fermentation of ethanol by acetic acid bacteria. Vinegar is now mainly used as a cooking ingredient, but historically, as the most easily available mild acid, it had a great variety of industrial, medical, and domestic uses, some of which (such as a general household cleanser) are still promoted today.”
  2. Baking Soda (Sodium bicarbonate)
  3. Borax “also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate, is an important boron compound, a mineral, and a salt of boric acid. Powdered borax is white, consisting of soft colorless crystals that dissolve easily in water.”
  4. Castile Liquid Soap
  5. Tea Tree Essential Oil
  6. Hydrogen Peroxide

My favorite of all the products has be the All Purpose Cleaning Scrub.  It has cleaned my bath tub to the point where it sparkles.

AP Cleaner 1

I’ve been experimenting with my own Laundry Soap.  It works great.  I’ve learned a few tricks and tips for making it along the way.  It’s nice to now have a laundry soap that is all natural and works great.

laundry soap 1

Potty Bombs!  a.k.a Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaners – I love these.  They clean my toilet and keep the mildew away…what more could I ask for?

potty bombs 2

Infused Vinegar Cleaners are still around.  They were my very first attempt into green cleaning last year.  The mask the vinegar smell to an extent, and cleans as well as straight up vinegar.

vinegar cleaner 1

Soap Conference: Arizona Part 3

June 6, 2014

The conference offered some interesting classes. I learned a few new things. Had things I already knew reinforced and overall enjoyed the classes I took.

Tuesday Highlights:

I think the two classes that I got the most out of were “Mastering the Bath Bomb” and “Formulating Fantastic Body Scrubs & Whipped Butters.”  I’ve never had a “loving” relationship with bath bombs, but I think that there is potentially a truce coming in the near future between me and bath fizzies!

I learned about some new ingredients to try in the scrubs/butter class.  I’m going to try a variation of the sugar scrub Maria Bosworth gave us.  I’m super excited about it actually.  I think  I might actually be able to make a sell a scrub over the hot summer months!!

Stay tuned.  I plan to do blog posts on my experimenting over the next few weeks!

night cactus

Wednesday Highlights:

I LOVE Kevin Dunn.  He has a way of explaining science that just makes sense.  His talk last year kind of transformed my understanding of soapmaking.  This year, with a year of knowledge, researching, experiments, reading behind me I have a vastly greater understanding of the chemistry of soap.  I think because of this I enjoyed his chat even more than I potentially would have if he’d given the same one last year.  I’d love for him to do some of his “basic” (or introduction to the chemistry of soap) classes again.  Not as a key note for the day, but just as small hour/hour and a half seminars so all those new soapmakers out there can hear him talk and benefit from his knowledge and the advance soapers can do a different class.

The second highlight of the day was “Making Transparent CP/HP Soap” but Kerri Mixon.  Yes, I wasn’t really too excited about it at first, but after the class I couldn’t wait to get home to try it out.  It’s not as hard as it seems (I’d read about it before and my eyes glazed over at the work that seemed to be involve with it).  I have all these ideas on how to mix transparent CP and regular CP soap together.  You’ve been forewarned!  You will be seeing more on this topic from me in the future.


Thursday Highlights:

By the time Thursday arrived I was exhausted. Lack of sleep was catching up with me. I’d “worked” hard the previous two days at the conference. And my brain was almost on overload at that point. What I remember most from Thursday was my Color class and additives class. Both were interesting. I knew a lot of the information presented, but I definitely took away some new information, so that was fun.

At the awards dinner that night I was not really 100% there. The guild does a series of ten questions. They’re questions about things that happened at the conference, about the people there, and the local area we’re in. The first question the asked was: At the start of this conference how many members did the soap guild have. They’d told us this at the member lunch on Wednesday. I sat there thinking and three numbers popped out in my head: 2, 5, 6. I knew there were 2500+ members. I couldn’t remember exactly how many there were though. I put down 2,556. The answer was 2,560. I was off by four! Anyway, I went through and answered the other questions (in which, surprising myself) I got them all right.

Soap samples from the "Exfoliants in Soap" class.

Soap samples from the “Exfoliants in Soap” class.

They collect the answers and they take all the people that got all ten right (which usually isn’t that many) and then they pull a name from those. You win a soap guild goodie bag. It’s just something fun. Well, I knew I’d gotten one question wrong, but it didn’t click when they got up there and say that no one had got all ten questions right, so they took the two who had 9 out of ten right. When they called my name I just sat there and looked at Jesse going, did they really just call my name.

hotel 2

All in all it was a good conference. I was up at 3am the next day to catch of 6am flight. I made it home (finally) Friday around 5:30pm.

Next year I won’t be attending the conference. I really want to attend a wholesale trade show and I only have a budget for one trip, but the following year I plan to head down to Tampa, FL for the 2016 conference.


(Pictures are from the hotel and its landscape.)

Soap Conference: Arizona Part 2

June 5, 2014

Once I arrived at the hotel I got settled into my room with my two awesome roommates (Jesse and Sister Hope). Registration was at 4 and the first part of my soap exam was at 6. I KNEW the information that was on the advance exam. I’ve been making soap for almost five years now. I’ve read, studied, and continued to expand my knowledge on soapmaking. And despite all this I was still nervous. :D I stressed over whether I’d know the answers.

When I got into the test I went through all twenty questions in ten minutes. I went back to reread and double check all my answers. All that stressing for nothing :) Tuesday morning I learned I passed the multiple choice section of the exam. I had to wait till Wednesday afternoon to learn if I’d passed the second part (making my own soap). I have to say I really like the recipe I created. I used Shea butter in almost all my soaps, but I have a couple customers who are allergic to shea. The recipe I created was formulated for them. I used cocoa butter in place of shea. I altered some of the percentages of the oils I used and the end result was a really creamy bar that had small bubbles, but still lots of lather. I love washing my hands with it. They feel silky every time after I use it!

I’m happy to say I’m now an advanced certified CP/HP soapmaker! I’ll do the MP tests this year, just because. I figured I’m teaching classes on both MP and CP that I might as well get the certification for them. And maybe one day in the future I’ll start working on the Master certification. Okay, maybe not “maybe” but probably :) You know me. I want to be the best I can be at my craft and I think the Master test will push me even further.


Soap Conference: Arizona Part 1

June 4, 2014

I’ve finally recovered from my AZ trip (mostly). It’s amazing how much work piles up when you go away for a week. As most of you know I went out to Arizona for a week to visit with my aunt and to attend the annual soap makers conference. I had a lovely time out in Arizona, but I’m glad to be home again.

I was excited to attend the conference, especially after my experience at last years conference. It was my second conference and I can say I learned some new things, got to hand out with old friends and meet some new ones.

Let’s backtrack though and start a few days prior to the conference. My aunt lives in Tucson and I figured if I was going to be in Arizona I had to visit! The trip started off on a not so great note! At 1:30 in the morning I was rudely awoken by a phone call informing me my flight had been canceled and they’d rebooked me on a flight for Sunday. I spent the next half hour on the phone trying to get through to someone to reschedule my flight for that day. It worked out in the end. I got a later flight, just barely (and I mean barely) made my connecting flight. I arrived in Arizona exhausted, but there.

I was greeted with 100 degree temps. It was LOVELY. I love the heat. Saturday was a day to just hang out and try and stay up past 8pm. I managed to stay up that evening, but I woke up every morning between 5 and 5:30 while I was there. There was nothing I could do to make myself sleep. Three hour time changes aren’t the most fun!

Sunday we went to Saguaro National Park. I got to learn more about the history of Tucson, it’s landscape, clime, and habitat. I saw a baby javelina and (yes I realize this makes me geeky) see a jojoba plant. Yes, that excited me greatly. I love jojoba oil and use it in my products.

saguaro 10

Monday we went to Sabino Canyon. We took the trolley up the canyon and walked back down, enjoying the natural beauty of the canyon. We had a nice picnic lunch and then it was time to head to the hotel for the conference.

Sabino 1

Sabino 14

Oil Comparison: Olive, Rice Bran, or Sunflower Oil?

September 16, 2013

If you haven’t noticed the cost of olive oil is going up.  Every time I go to the store it seems the price has increased.  Olive oil makes up about 40% of my oils in most of my recipes–so the price increase IS affecting my costs significantly.

I’ve been researching oils and trying to figure out my best option for alleviating some of the cost increase from olive oil.  The question: How can I use less olive oil and still get the same properties in my bar of soap.  This includes: lather, conditioning, moisturizing properties as well as shelf life.  My options are:

  • Olive Oil Refined
  • Olive Oil Pomace
  • Rice Bran Oil
  • High-Oleic Sunflower Oil

I pulled out my latest oil spec sheets from the last batch of oils I bought and did a comparison:

Oil Comparison
Palmitic Stearic Oleic Linoleic Shelf Life
Olive Oil Refined 14.8 2.7 69 12.7 2 years
Olive Oil Pomace 14.5 2.5 70 12 2 years
Rice Bran 16 1 44 35 1-2 years
High Oleic Sunflower 5 4 81 9 3-6 months

At first glance it would seem like high oleic sunflower oil is the best choice.  I love sunflower oil.  I use it in a couple recipes, but sunflower oil has a short shelf life.  I haven’t noticed any problems with the longevity of my products where I use sunflower oil, but then I’m not using them at a usage rate of 40% of my total oils.

The next best choice (if I want to not use olive oil) would be rice bran oil.  I actually use rice bran in some of my recipes (I do a 20:20% ratio of olive:rice bran instead of a straight up 40% olive oil).  I haven’t noticed really any difference overall.  Problem is rice bran has a much higher percentage of poly-unsaturated fatty acids (linoleic) than sunflower or olive.  I use avocado oil in my recipes which is also fairly high in poly-unsaturated fatty acids.  I try to keep a balance recipe of saturated/unsaturated fats when making a recipe. I don’t want to get rid of avocado oil (I LOVE that oil).  Anyway, I’m hesitant to use rice bran oil as a complete replacement for olive oil partial because of this.

So, the question is: What do I do?  I won’t cut olive oil out completely, but I do think I need to sub a portion of the oil for another (cheaper oil).  my gut says go with a combination of olive oil and sunflower oil (despite sunflower’s shorter shelf life). I do add ROE to my oils when I get them, so I think overall my shelf life of each bar won’t be affected too much, but still…  So, the question remains what do I do?

Have you been dealing with this same problem?  What are your thoughts and opinions? I’d love to hear what you do/think/like?


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