Inspirational Friday

March 16, 2018

I’m an introvert.  I find it stressful to be in social situations, especially where I don’t know anyone.  I’m never just going to randomly start up a conversation with a stranger.  If given the choice between staying home with a good book or going out I almost always will stay in. I have to make myself participate in life.  And there are times where I just get people overload and I have to remove myself for a couple days from having to be “social” so I can recharge.

I always laugh when I see this quote because I think I’ve appreciated being home doing absolutely nothing for as long as I can remember.  But what I’ve come to realize after six years of running my business is that I’ve become much better at “social” interaction.  It is a skill I’ve had to learn since running my business.  I still have a lot I could learn, but I’m much better at it than I was say a couple years ago.  And I think I have an even better appreciation now for the days I can be home doing “absolutely nothing.”


Experimenting: Bath Bombs and Bubble Bath

March 10, 2018

I’ve been asked many many times to teach a bath bomb class.  When I teach a class I teach it as a way for students to learn about the ingredients, why you use them, what they do, recipes to try, and experimenting in the class.  It is a comprehensive class that includes a lot of information. So you can image it takes a lot of work to put a class like that together initially.

One of my goals was to do that this winter (during my sort of kind of down time).  This meant exploring new/different recipes and creating some of my own.  To do that I had to do a some testing in my studio!  I forget how much I like to experiment!  I don’t do it often enough (or more accurately I don’t have time to do it as much as I’d like).

I tested over a dozen different recipes for bath bombs, bubble bath bombs, and solid bubble bath.  It was fun!  And I learned a lot.  The best part was I finally go to play around with a few new ingredients I’ve been wanting to!  Here’s some of the results of that process!


I have a recipe I use, but it’s a bit complicated and you REALLY need a mixer to make them, and they’re expensive (more so that most people would want to pay to make them at home).  I wanted a simplified recipe that worked well if mixing by and and still created a nice bath bomb.  I played around with three different recipes and a couple different ways of “mixing” the ingredients. This is right after I made the bath bombs.  The yellow ones did not stay round for long and activated some as well.

Recipe 1: There’s a base recipe I’ve seen all over that I used for this one with a small alteration to it.  They worked well.  They were relatively easy to make.  I could mix them with my hands or a mixer and they worked.  They took a good 24 hours to harden (and still softer than my standard recipe even after 24 hours, but they got hard and have a nice fizz).

Recipe 2: So, I learned a valuable lesson with this recipe: What DOES NOT work! Ha! These were soooooo wet.  It didn’t matter how much cornstarch I added to them they just where not having anything to do with me.

Recipe 3: I think these are my favorite, but they’re also the most expensive “cost” wise to make.  They too worked well though and create a nice bath bomb.  I like these and Recipe 1 and I think they’ll be good ones to use for teaching.


These were interesting to play with.  I’d seen all sorts of varying information on ingredients to use, getting foam vs. bubbles, how well the performed or didn’t…  I learned a few things with these experiments…especially when it came to using liquid surfactants in my recipe.  As you can see some clearly didn’t work, others I managed to salvage with some on the spot recipe changes, and some worked great.

Recipe 1: This one was probably my favorite of the recipes, but it’s also the most expensive ingredient wise.  It gave me little trouble though and the “foam” or “bubbles” aren’t bad.

Recipe 2: Yeah…everything about this one didn’t work.  First off, the surfactant didn’t behave at all like I was expecting it too and even my on the spot alterations couldn’t save it.  I’m pretty sure I figured out which two ingredients didn’t like each other.  I might experiment again with alterations just to see how altering amounts of the two ingredients that didn’t play nice together would work.

An hour later that have completely fallen apart!

No staying power with these bubbles! That was disappointing.

Recipe 3: This one I expected to have similar results as recipe 2 and so I altered the recipe a bit before I even started making it.  I still had to do even more on the fly altering.  It allowed me to make the bath bombs, but I’m not sure how they’ll harden or how well they’ll bubble.

Recipe 4: By the time I got to this recipe I’d done enough trouble shooting that I was able to alter the recipe and it worked.  It wasn’t as easy to make the balls as recipe 1 but the initial results were far better than recipe 2 or 3.  It fizzed and bubble well and the bubbles had staying power.


What I wanted to see with these were which bubbled best.  I had three different surfactants I was experimenting with: SLSA, CocoBetaine, and CocoFoam

These are “soft solids” that you can crumble under running water to created your bubble bath.  I like the solid bubble bath and don’t think I’d ever make liquid bubble bath.  Though I’ll never say never!

Recipe 1:

Recipe 2:

You can see that I had some pieces left that didn’t crumble.  Part of the reason for this is I was just using one hand while recording with the other so it made crumbling harder.  Another reason these recipes did get pretty hard.  I think it will break down and dissolve in the water (it was already really soft when I touched the pieces in the water).  This happened for recipe 2 and 3.

Recipe 3:

Bubbles make me smile!  I tested one other recipe (very different from these that isn’t pictured.  It wasn’t a recipe of my own creation, but I wanted to see how it compared to these and what I thought of it).

As you can see I had a lot of fun testing out my recipes.  I also have a very comprehensive handout out coming in at 24 pages to accompany these recipes.  I’m ready for classes to start!

February 12 in 12

February 28, 2018

Here we go! Month 2! (Can some explain to me where the first month went?  I cannot believe it’s already February…technically the end of February!)

February 2, 2018: Taxes

Oh the fun of tax time! Taxes are done for another year.  Yay!

February 5, 2018: Soap Designs

I have fragrance and now designs.  It’s time for me to officially start making my spring line of soaps!

February 6, 2018: Fragrances!

Okay. I’m officially starting to make my spring soaps today.  I’ve been so lazy the beginning of this year.  With the exception of a castile batch and some laundry soap I haven’t made any soap in 2018! Time to change that.

February 7, 2018: Gardenia

I’ve seen a lot of soaps recently with colored salt on top and I’ve LOVED them.  It’s inspired me to try it out.  This one didn’t quite go smoothly when I was making it.  The inside doesn’t have the swirl I wanted, but I love the top!

February 8, 2018: Bath Bombs

I made a small batch of heart bath bombs for Valentine’s Day. I told myself I wasn’t going to, but I couldn’t help myself!

February 9, 2018: Asian Pear & LilySoap

*sigh* Apparently I’m rusty.  This soap didn’t work at all. I mean it’s not ugly, but it looks NOTHING like my sketch.  NOTHING at all.  I know, no one will know that when they see it. But I know it. Ha!

February 10, 2018:  Winter Farmers Market

Ahhh…my first show of the season–Ashland Winter Farmers Market.  Luckily I get to ease back into shows.  This was my only one in February and I only have two in March and April.  Then May rolls around…and craziness resumes.

February 12, 2018: Wool…lots of wool!

12lbs of wool in that picture.  It’s been separated into one ounce pieces so now I can start making the first step of my dryer balls.  This is not my most favorite job and when I make them I make them about 10-12 lbs at a time.

February 14, 2018: Agave Lime Soap

This soap didn’t go as planned either (…do you see a theme here)!  It got thicker than I expected quicker than I expected.  I decided to improvise and try hanger swirling it.  I wasn’t sure what I was gonna get when I cut it.  I though the soap was too thick to swirl.  I was happily surprised when I cut the soap!  I really like this one.

February 22, 2018: Studying

I mentioned at the beginning of the year how I had registered for the Master Soap Exam (back in April).  With only 16 months to get it completed  (since I didn’t do anything in 2017) I’ve been working pretty much every day on the test. I’ve broken it up on how I’m studying/working on things.  Right now I’m answering the essay questions.  35 essays…I am making progress. I am learning lots.  But oh my word this is A LOT of work!

February 24, 2018: Field of Flowers

Gah!  I have not had an easy time with my spring soap line.  I swear nothing has gone as I planned.  I mean the soaps have turned out fine, but very few actually look like what I had imagined.  The flowers on this batch DID NOT go as plan and I ended up having to resort to these plan looking ones.  I mean no one will know that but me, but I was so frustrated by it.

February 26, 2018: New Class Handouts

Hours upon hours upon hours it took me to create this 25 page handout on bath bombs and bubble baths. I’ll be teaching a class on it this Spring.  I’ve been asked many times for it and I finally put one together.  Of course that meant creating handouts for it.  Between information about bath bombs/bubble bath, supplier/info links, ingredient breakdowns, and recipes, this handout was A LOT of work.  And that doesn’t even account for all the time I spent in the studio testing and creating and tweaking recipes.  I’m excited to teach the class though!

So…I felt like I was so lazy this month and that I wasn’t accomplishing much…but when I look back over this post I think I did more than I realized ha!


Glycerin Rivers…after the fact!

February 23, 2018
I just picked up on an interesting occurrence with glycerin rivers. This has happened before, but I just made the connection. And guys I’m so totally fascinated by this!
I made heart embeds with Titanium Dioxide (TD). They did not have glycerin rivers in them after saponification. Three days later I added the embeds into my soap. I gel (as intensely as I can by insulating in blankets) my soap. This batch heated up pretty well. After almost 24 hours it still had some residual warm coming off it. (I didn’t measure the temps that the soap reached, but you have an idea how hot it got and stayed to still be warm almost 24 hours later). When I unmolded and cut the soap all my white hearts (which looked like the small soap sample in this picture before I embedded them) had major glycerin rivers.
This happened AFTER the soap had saponified (the hearts were three days old at this point)! This has happened many times before I’ve just only made the connection now.
I do a water discount about 1:1.9 ratio. So not as steep as some discounts, but less than the normal 1:2 to 1:2.5 water ratio that generally causes the higher probability of glycerin rivers.
Making the assumption that glycerin rivers form when soap goes through a gel phase and particles of color pigment gravitate and stick to the greasy, water-repellent tails of the soap molecule while leaving the water-soluble heads of the molecule without pigment, I wouldn’t think glycerin rivers could form once the lye-oils had already (saponified and) become soap.
I know I created an “ideal” situation for the formation of glycerin rivers with a higher water content, prolonged gel phase, with a slow cooling. But to happen to oils that had already saponified!
I find this utterly fascinating!  Has anyone else had this happen?  Could I really heat the embed up enough in the new batch of soap to cause it form glycerin rivers?  

Inspirational Friday

February 16, 2018

I learned long ago that my “standards” generally were leaps and bounds above most.  I got frustrated when I had to work on or with a team that didn’t live up to them.  Adequate was enough.  Just getting the job done was enough.  I would do twice as much work as colleagues, because only my best was enough.  To this day I still hold high standards for myself and others.  If you’re going to do a job–do it well.  Go beyond just what is expected.

When I was teaching I held my students to my standards.  And when they tried to reach them it was amazing what they accomplished.  I won’t make apologies for holding high standards.  I will always work to make everything I do the best I can.


January 12 in 12

January 31, 2018

Last year I started the Soap Your Year 12 in 12.  Here’s a recap of the basic gist of it:

12 in 12 Soap Your Year

Years ago, back in 2006 or 2007 (it’s been awhile), then casting agent Chad Darnell started something called “12 of 12”.  On the 12th day of each month you had to take 12 pictures of your day.  Then post them in a blog posts (which we would then link/share back to Chad’s original post).  It was just something different and something fun.A bit of background: I knew Chad through a Crossing Jordan webpage I created.  He did casting for Alias and Crossing Jordan and eventually became a writer on Crossing Jordan.  He’s currently working on Mercy Street (for any of you that watch that show on PBS).

Anyway, about a month ago for whatever random reason this game popped into my head and I thought this would be fun to do with soap!  But, I figured it needed some altering, because I’m not necessarily doing soap on the 12th day of every month. I think I’ve figured out a way to morph the game just a tad! Here we go!


  1. Each month document your soaping/bath product making in 12 pictures.
  2. One picture MUST be taken on the 12th of the month.  If you’re not making/working/doing something soap related that day it’s ok! Take a picture of your empty work space, or if you’re on vacation share a vaca photo.  You just have to have one photo taken on the 12th.
  3. Create a blog post of your 12 pictures (with a one or two sentence explanation)!
  4. Post the blog post on the last day of the month.

Feel free to link your post back to mine so others can see your posts.

Now, I didn’t quite follow all my rules ha, just I didn’t have a picture taken every month ON the 12th day of the month, but I’m going to try and be better about that.  Anyway, I had fun doing it and decided I’m going to do another snapshot of my year.   If you want to join in please do!

Without further ado here’s my January 12 in 12

January 1 2018:

My pot collection has grown.  I’ve gotten to the point where I KNOW I need to be making larger batches on any soap that I can.  Not all of my designs allow me to make batches that are bigger than 10 lbs, but thee are many that I can make in 15 or 20 lb batches.  One of this years goal!  I’ve added a larger pot so I can now melt more oils at once.

January 2nd 2018: 

This totally isn’t soap related, but I had to share.  Every year I set a goal to read 50 books.  Most of those books have to get read before October because the last three months of the year don’t really leave me any time to read.  I hit my goal this year.  75% of the books read happened in the first 6 months. Ha!

January 11th 2018: 

Lists, lists, and more lists!  There is SO much I have to accomplish during my down time.  And it’s fast disappearing before me. I’ve been working every day on one thing or another.  Hopefully I get all I need to accomplished this winter.

January 12th 2018: 

I had a few things I needed to restock after the craziness of show season.  Packaging soaps here, but overall I kept up with everything this winter and that makes me happy!

January 13th 2018: 

Look at that empty dry rack!  Always makes me a little sad to see. It’ll get filled up again, just give it a little time!

January 14th 2018: 

Out with the old, in with the new (next picture ha!)

January 15th 2018: 

Got new bath bomb molds and redid all my large sized ones.  Let me tell you making 90 (and then packaging) bath bombs at once is not one of my favorite things to do.  Too many at once!

January 17th 2018: 

Sugar scrubs!  This always looks so yummy to me ha!

January 18th 2018: 

Laundry Soap.  I needed to make more for the past few months now. I finally got around to it.  This is step one of the processes: making the coconut oil soap.

January 22nd 2018: 

I still can’t believe I’ve already submitted four applications for shows for 2018.  They’ll really start pouring in come February. Let me tell you trying to put my schedule together is always challenging.

January 23rd 2018: 

One of my goals was to finally set up SoapMaker3 and move away from my old method of tracking inventory.  Let me tell you this process is SOOOOO tedious, especially when you decide to change how you track something seven years into a business and you have a crap load of supplies.  It took me days to go through and do an updated inventory (beginning of the year…time to do that), but for SM3 I have to get all the pricing.  I’ve four pages of supplies…slowly getting through all my invoices and marking pricing.  Figured if I was gonna do this, might as well do it right.

January 30th 2018: 

Soap classes!  I love teaching.  Like LOVE teaching.  Working on new classes for the spring and excited about the winter schedule.


Inspirational Friday

January 19, 2018

I *think* I’ve shared this one before, but it’s worth re-sharing. Especially as we head into a new year.  What you want is not (in 99.9% of cases) going to be handed to you.  Dreams come true because “we” work our tails off to make them reality. “Umph” is what sets us apart.  It’s what makes our dreams become reality.  Here’s to a year of lots of “umph”!!