Juniper Breeze

March 24, 2015

I was feeling like making a green soap the day I made this one.  Mixed up the greens and swirled the middle layer.  Very fun and cool looking soap.

Fun Tidbit: My friend and I were exiting the food store talking about my soaps and what to use a props and we were talking about the Juniper Breeze soap and not knowing what to use when my friend stops and looks down at the median and goes: “I think that’s Juniper.”  The entire parking lot was covered with juniper plants ha!  We stole a few sprigs.

Juniper Breeze

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Juniper Breeze: Lots of pine, ozone, green notes with hints of berry and fruits. A very clean, fresh scent.


Landscape Challenge: Field of Sunflowers

March 18, 2015

I love sunflowers.  My mom plants them in her yard every year.  As I was looking for some new fragrances to try I came across one called sunflower.  I thought it’s the dead of winter (and we were in the middle of our THIRD massive snow storm here in New England).  I was ready for spring to come. So I purchased the fragrance.

I didn’t know what to do with it though so I went online and searched “sunflower” hoping to come up with some ideas.  Came across this photo:

field_of_sunflowers_kentucky

And I thought it’s be really cool if I could create a field of sunflowers!  The only way I could figure out how to do it realistically was to pipe them (so much work, but so worth it).

The first layer is brown with coffee grinds in it to create the speckled dirt layer.  Then I created the field of “grass” and “stems” and “leaves” by using three different greens and swirling them.  Then I piped the sunflowers on top.

This was the result: Field of Sunflowers

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Alternate Field of Sunflowers

The first layer is brown with coffee grinds in it to create the speckled dirt layer.  The difference in this one is I only swirled two greens and made actually “stems” and “leaves” in the dark green.

It’s a little more realistic.  I like the first version better.  There’s something about the abstractness of it I just love, but this one is still really pretty too.  I’m not as happy with the yellow on this one.  It got a little too dark for my liking, but if you didn’t have it to compare to the first I probably would have been happy ha!

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Under Eye Balm

March 14, 2015

Last summer I started playing around with an under eye balm recipe.  I’d gotten a couple sample oils from the soap conference that were more exotic and too nice to (I thought) use in soap.  I was reading one of the blogs I followed that had posted a recipe that used one of those oils and I got inspired to try and create my own “eye butter.”

The first batch worked well enough, but it was not what I was going for. I tried to whip the butter but that ended up no working and it didn’t cool evenly so it was a little grainy and just overall it worked but I wasn’t happy.

I adjusted my recipe a bit and I liked it, but it wasn’t what I wanted.  I set it aside when the holidays came (there was no time to do much of anything outside of restocks!).  I started playing around again with it in January.

I had narrowed down my trial recipes to one (with two variations).  One contained beeswax while the other didn’t.  I loved the final results.  I’m having some people test it and so far results have been good.  Always excited when I create a new recipe to my satisfaction!

eye cream

The beeswax is a balm (and I really like it…it should hold up well in the summer).  The other which has no beeswax I whipped it.  And I actually LOVE this one.  I’ve noticed that it’s really not greasy either.  I’ve been using it on my entire face not just under the eyes.


Petal Top Soap Technique

March 10, 2015

Kenna from Modern Soap Making first posted a tutorial on this technique last year —  TUTORIAL.  It’s not hard, but it created a cool looking soap.  I wanted to try it out, but I wasn’t making much soap then (I’d pretty much made all my soap for the holiday season) and I didn’t have time to just play around.

Two other things had me holding off too:

  1. I knew it would be time consuming to make.
  2. I HATE using squirt bottles. They are the biggest pain to clean up and you waste so much soap.

I finally sat down and started to play around with the technique.  I used squirt bottles the first time to make.  All my frustrations with them came back ha!  So, I decided to try make the drops free hand to see if that worked.  Then it dawned on me I could just used a piping bag!  Free hand and piping bags both worked just as well, and clean up was so much easier!

Here are some pictures of my attempts as I practice this technique:

First Attempt: Forbidden Fruit – I tested out some new micas from Nurture Soap.  Love the colors. So bold!

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Second Attempt: Pipping bags as opposed to squirt bottles. I think the results are the same for control and consistency and the beautiful part: I dumped the bags in the trash after completing! No cleaning bottles!

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Third Attempt: Black Tie Affair (soap for the men!).  The insides didn’t quite do what I wanted, but the petal top is cool! I really like these colors together too.

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Friends and their comments…that inspire new products!

March 7, 2015

A couple times I’ve had customers or friends come up and tell me they used one of my products for something other than it was intended and it worked great!  It’s really fun to hear them so happy about finding a new use for said product.  A lot of times I share this with other customers asking about products.  My body butter has multiple uses as does my foot balm.

The other day my best friend’s sister who has two children still in diaper told me how she took one of my lip balms and labeled it “Butt Stick” and has been using it to help soothe diaper rash.  A while back I’d actually done some research on making a diaper rash cream for another friend.  I never did anything with it, but when she started talking about my lip balm I realized that the recipe I created way back when for the diaper rash cream was almost similar to my lip balm recipe with a few exceptions the biggest being there was no beeswax in it.

I decided to pull out the old recipe I’d created and alter it from a butter to a balm.  I call it Baby “Butt” Balm (affectionately referred to by family and friends now as the “Butt Stick”).  I’ve had friends and family testing it to see what they think.  We’ll see what the result is over the next few months…but potentially a new product might come to my bath product line!

buttbalm


Advice is Free

March 3, 2015

Turning my hobby into a full time business has been hard work–really hard work!  There are days I work 14-16 hours and I could work longer because there’s still plenty of work, but I unfortunately run out of steam.  It’s been a lot of trial and error.  There have been products that I was sure would be successful and don’t sell and ones I didn’t think would move and fly off the shelf.

The problem with introducing new products is it usually means a new expense.  Rarely do I have everything I need in stock to make the product.    That’s part of the business.  I’ve gotten much better at managing the new expenses and predicting costs I’ll need to invest.  I have a list of “products to try” a mile long. There’s so much I want to still learn to make and experiment with.  There’s only so much money and time to do that though on top of everything else I make.

On top of new products I’ve (along the way) dealt with creating a webpage, figuring out which markets/craft fairs were good/bad, actually attending and selling at those craft fairs, creating a wholesale line, growing my wholesale client base, creating (and maintaining) a newsletter, teaching and developing new soap classes, finding new/more venues to teaching my classes through, maintaining a blog, maintaining Facebook… Oh! And not on that list is just making all the products (over 75 different products) that sell that is the heart of my business.  You see the list goes on and on.  There are never enough hours in the day.  There is always something that doesn’t get done or gets pushed back a day, a week, a month…

This is enough to overwhelm anyone.  I’ve dealt with it though, and fairly well I think.  Along the way my parents (Dad especially), brother, even friends have offered their advice.  They do it to help me. I know that.  Most of the time they’d offer suggestions and they’d already be on my list of “to dos.”  I always got frustrated with them.  I would be like “there’s only one of me and I’m doing the best I can!”  It took me awhile to realize that their advice wasn’t criticism.  It was just that advice. They WANTED me to succeed.  They wanted to help me.  Their advice was their way of caring and trying to show their support for me.

Some of their advice I ignored because it was something that would create more work for me or force me outside my comfort zone.  I learned the hard way sometimes that I should have listened to their advice.  It might have been more work initially but it would have paid off later, whether through sales, increased visibility, attracting new customers, or making me stand out.  Some advice I’m now implementing.  It’s never too late.

That said some advice I don’t listen to.  Not because it’s not good or have merit, but I (just like you) know my business and I know somethings just aren’t a direction I want to go, or I would hate doing it (and that’s not the reason I started my own business!)

The lesson I’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) though that I wanted to share is be open to advice.  It costs you nothing (but maybe some time) to listen to and think about someone else’s suggestions.  You don’t have to take the advice.  You can use it as inspiration for something else.  Or you can take it.  Just remember listen with an open mind.  It could be well worth it in the end.

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Inspirational Friday

February 27, 2015

Need I say anything more??

not try


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