April 12 in 12

April 30, 2018

I got slightly obsessed this month with mermaids.  I probably could have filled half the month with posts of just mermaids!  I restrained from doing this ha!  Here you go: April–where the weather is kind of sort of finally getting warmer and spring feels like it might actually get here!

April 1, 2018: Dragon’s Blood

I was mostly caught up on restocks, but I had a few soaps I still needed to make. One was  Dragon’s Blood.  I really like the simplicity of this one.  And the stamp is just too perfect.

April 3, 2018: Custom Favors

These were for a Winnie the Pooh themed Baby Shower. I can’t help smiling every time I see them!  The gift sets I created came out so cute.

Here they are all packaged up in their gift sets and ready to go out! I’m in love with them. They turned out so cute!

April 4, 2018: Studying

I’m making progress…I think ha!  I’ve actually started writing the research paper. I’m studying the essay questions and I’m making the soaps for my 9 months of testing this week (2nd week of April).  This is progress, even if I can’t physically check any thing off my list yet.

April 5, 2018: National Shrink Wrap System

This beauty got ordered a little sooner than I planed, but I needed it for an order in April.  It’s definitely taking some practice to get used to, but it will in the long run save me so much time on packaging!

April 6, 2018: More custom favors!

It’s that time of year: lots of showers and weddings going on.  I’ve been busy making favors.  I love that I can create something unique and special for someone.

April 8, 2018: NaOH 

Can’t make soap without lye.  Another shipment of it arrived.  I think I’m all set for a while.

April 12, 2018: Mermaids!

If you’ve been following my FB page you know I’ve been slightly (okay, maybe more than slightly) obsessed with mermaids.  I have been playing around with a bunch of different designs and I think I have decided on what I like best.  I can’t wait until these are ready!

April 14, 2018: Oh look! More Mermaids! 🙂

Here you go.  May your eyes be happy taking in these cute soaps!

April 16, 2018: And yet more custom favors! (It’s that time of year!)

Did I already mention it’s that time of year?  Yes? Ah, well here are some more favors I’ve made!

April 18, 2018: There’s a running theme here! Cupcake Favors!

I made  A LOT of custom favors this month (not all have been pictured), but it should give you an idea of how my month went in the terms of soap making :D.  These cupcakes turned out so sweet!  Can’t wait until they’re ready to go to their new home!

April 18, 2018: Single Tails and Creating Labels

I wanted to have some mermaids for my event on April 21st. The bar soaps weren’t going to be ready so I decided to package up sets of three tails.  Of course that meant creating labels and figuring out how to package them.  A few kinks to work out, but I really like these!

April 23, 2018: Bubble Scoops

I had a little too much fun with these. I didn’t plan to go make a bunch…it just kind of happened after I made a batch with a friend.  They were just so cute I was like I need a rainbow!  And now I have Bubble Scoops. Lots of bubble scoops ha!

April 28, 2018: New England Local Chapter Meet Up (BONUS)

Lots was going on in April and I had to include a bonus day: Our First New England Chapter Meet Up.  I’m so excited to work on building our community of soap makers up here in New England. We had an awesome day!  I proctored a test session, we made ghost swirl soap, funnel pour soap, and bubble bars!  New England HSCG Members if you’re not already a part of our Local Chapter please consider joining us! We have a FB group as well where updates, challenges, and all sorts of stuff happens! Come check it out!

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March 12 in 12

March 31, 2018

And just like that we’re three months in to 2018.  While I can’t say I’m sad about that (I’m sooooo ready for warm weather), I’m still a little amazed at how time seems to just fly by!  March has been a busy month–busier than I expected–not a bad thing!  Here’s a little peak into what transpired the past 31 days!

March 2, 2018: New Webpage

It’s getting closer to actually being a reality!  This is a sketch I did which the new homepage should somewhat resemble when it’s done.  I’m super excited about this update. It’s a major overhaul and a lot of work, but my webpage needed it!

March 3, 2018: Testing Bubble Bath Recipes

I finally got into the lab and experimented on a dozen different recipes I’d created. I got to play with some new ingredients and try some new techniques!  It was fun!  And I have a new class now, with fun new products for student to make!

March 5, 2018: Packaging To Soon!

Here’s what happens when you seal bath bombs in a bag too soon after making them ;).  Ahh science!

March 6, 2018: SoapMaker3 

I continue to finish setting up SM3.  All my recipes are imputed and the final stage is getting my current inventory in there and then I’ll be ready to roll.  Oh the work! I’m not going to tell you how many hours I spent on this.  At least it’s almost all set up and from this point it should be easier to deal with.

March 7, 2018: New Scale

Isn’t she a beauty! I have quite the collection of scales.  From one that measures max 100 grams to this new baby. She can weigh over 20lbs so I can now move up my recipe size.  I’m super excited to be able to scale up my recipes.  It will be so handy come busy season!

March 8, 2018: Coconut Oil

Ahhh, restocking.  I should be all good with coconut oil for at least a few months ;).

March 10, 2018: Body Butter

My body butter is always a popular item in the winter.  I’ve had to make quite a number of batches this winter.  New England has brought us plenty of cold (VERY COLD) dry weather.  Doesn’t it look good enough to eat???

March 12, 2018: Dryer Balls

Oh my word!  These are the most tedious item I make and the most time consuming. I love them and customers love them so I’ll keep making them.  I made 14 lbs worth this go around.  It took a couple weeks (through their various stages) to get them all done, but they’re done and I should be good for the next six months or so!

March 14, 2018: Summer Fragrances

One night huddled under blankets on my couch I started day dreaming about summer and then thinking about scents I would do in my summer line and before I knew it I had my summer scents picked out and designs done!  This is not normal.  I don’t normally even start to figure out what I’m going to be doing for the summer until April, but when inspiration hits I go with it.

March 15, 2018: Spring Soaps

And now that I figured out my summer line it was time to package my spring soaps!

March 16, 2018: Custom Favors

It’s that time of year where weddings and showers are fast approaching and I get busy with making custom favors!  This cute cupcakes are going to be for a little girls first communion.

March 17, 2018: Mill No. 5

Shows are going to start up full time before I know it, but right now I just do a couple each month.  This show was at Mill No. 5 in Lowell.  I love the building it’s such a fun atmosphere!  IF you’re ever in MA you should go there and check it out!

March 18, 2018: Photo Day for the Soaps

I can’t say I was pleased with my photos.  I was lazy and didn’t set up my lighting and I should have. I know most people won’t be able to tell, but they’re definitely not the quality I’m used to producing.  Below are my “props”.  I had a hard time getting my props to look good with my soaps.  I think the day was just not meant to be a great photo day! Oh well!

PS: Yes, I know that was thirteen days and not twelve. I couldn’t narrow it down…and I left out the last week of march (it was just making soap and more soap). 😀


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!


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!

Rules:

  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.


December 12 in 12

December 31, 2017

Well we’ve reached the final month!  It’s been fun to look back over the past twelve months and see a review of the year!  December was a great month. Insanely busy up through Christmas, but then I got to take some time off to spend with family and it was lovely!

December 1, 2017: Christmas Time

I got to put a tree up for the first time in five years. Finally being in my own place with a separate work space has been lovely.  I love my tree and all the decorations I was able to put up this year!

December 3, 1017: Craft Fairs

This was my craziest weekend of the year.  In three days I had 8 shows. 4 which I did and 4 of which I had three other people working for me do.  By the time I got home Sunday I was a zombie :D.

December 5, 2017: Lip Scrubs

After I made it through the weekend I was back at it restocking.  I did pretty good with keeping up with everything this year.  The lip scrubs were really popular this winter season.

December 14, 2017: Test Prep

It’s time to get serious and get my butt in gear with this Master Exam.  I’m a list maker. It helps get me motivated.  When I can cross things off I feel like I’m accomplishing something and it makes me want to do more!  So I started my list of supplied I’d need and what I needed to do to get started on it.

December 15, 2017: Custom Orders

I’ve had a couple of custom soap orders I needed to get caught up on.  So I spent the day working on making those.  One was a custom order for a four color swirl to match a tile patter in someone’s home. I think I did a good job with that! I was pleased with how they came out.

December 17, 2017: Last Show (Part 1)

The last event of the season, a small winter farmers market.  When it was over I did a little happy dance.  I love shows, but they’re exhausting and by the time I get to the end of December I’m exhausted!

December 17, 2017: Old Sturbridge Village (Part 2)

I’m always so busy this time of year I never do anything fun.  One of my favorite places is OSV (a historical village in MA).  They do a program called Christmas by Candlelight and I was like I’m going this year! So, I bought tickets for me and my parents and we had a lovely evening.

December 22, 2017: Test Prep

I went out and bought the binders I needed and printed out all the test requirements and put them all together and I’m ready to start.  There’s a lot of work ahead of me, but it’s all organized and it’s time to start the work!

December 25, 2017: Christmas!

MY entire family was together for Christmas. It was lovely!  This is my and my adorable nephew.  He just melts my heart!

December 26, 2017: New molds!

I’ve started my 2018 goals list already. One thing I knew I wanted to do was change up the molds I use for my bath bombs.  Of course I asked for some of the new molds I wanted for Christmas :D. I’m so excited for these new molds. I absolutely love how the work.

December 27, 2017: Bookkeeping

Started pulling everything out to get all the end of year stuff finalized and ready for my accountant.  Can’t believe year 6 is almost in the books!

December 31, 2017: Total Soap Count

Here you go! The final count on the number of bars of soap I made: 6,723 (the alternate was me counting actually number of soaps made not by the size (full/half/cupcake) bar but just total number made).


November 12 in 12

November 30, 2017

I didn’t think this post would happen (at least not on time).  It is that time of year where I think I just run permanently on exhaustion mode.  It’s a good kind of tired, but I just don’t have enough hours in the day to get everything done it seems.  Of course when January arrives and I have nothing to do I’ll complain I’m bored ha!  Anyway, without further ado here’s a look at my month!

November 2: Emoji Soaps

I thought they’d be popular…I just didn’t think they’d be quite this popular. I’m not complaining, but I swear it feels like all I did this month was make emoji soaps 😀

November 3: Boston Christmas Festival

This three day show is one of my biggest shows of the season.  I share a booth with another artisan friend and it makes for a fun (if long) weekend.  Here’s my half of the set up!

November 6: Wax Melts

Remember those wax melts I made in October? Well I’ve been enjoying them!  I LOVE this eggnog scent. So yummy!

November 9: Soap Boxes

I think I packaged about 1000 soaps in November.  However many it was I felt like I was constantly putting boxes together. I got smart and started just doing it in the evening when I’d sit down to watch an hour of TV before bed and make them then and then have them ready when I needed.

November 10: Emulisfied Scrubs!

Love this stuff–especially in the winter!  Spent most of the day making up 6 batches of this stuff!

November 13: Lip Pamper Gift Sets

Back in January I made a list of different gift set ideas I could do for the winter.  I’ve found that the gift sets (especially if I can keep them in the $10 range) do really well for me this time of year.  One of the ones I played around with was a lip set.  This wasn’t what I originally imagined, but I really like the finished packaged set (not pictured) and they’ve seemed to go over well!

November 15: My Stock

I was standing in my studio exhausted and looking at my stock of finished products and it hit me that I had A LOT of stuff.  Of course I still stress that I don’t have enough ha!

November 15: Bath Bombs

I decided to change my packaging for my bath bombs (yeah right in the middle of crazy show season).  I’m really happen I did.  I like the look of these much better.  These two pics show with labels then in the bags waiting to be shrink wrapped.

November 18: Hot Sauce!

Ha! I know this is not a soap pic.  This is my favorite hot sauce and I was almost out of it when I saw them at an event I was at that day and I had to buy three bottles. I don’t know what I’d have done if I had run out! 😉

November 20: Thanksgiving and Luke

We went to my sister’s for Thanksgiving.  For a FULL week.  I know, can you just imagine my stressing over lost of work time ha!  We’ll I brought a few things with me that I could do at her place.  One afternoon when everyone was napping and I was working Luke woke up from his nap. I grabbed him and tried to keep working while holding him (as he didn’t want to be put down).  I wasn’t quick enough one time and he dipped his hand in (not hot / MP) soap. Oops!

 

Part 2: Thanksgiving Mac & Cheese

My brother-in-law added some “soul” (as he calls it) to our Thanksgiving this year.  His co-worker gave him a mac & cheese recipe and said he had to try it.  And so for the first time ever our table had mac & cheese :D! It was good.

November 28: Swirls

Yeah, yeah, I know. I always show you my swirls. I can’t help it. I love them so much!

As a side note to this day: Have you ever wondered how much 2500 lip balms tubes looks like? Wonder no more! It’s a lot!

November 29: Gift Sets

I *think* I’ve put together the last of the gift sets I’ll need for this year. We shall see! 😉

There you have it!  Just one more month left this year.  Have you all enjoyed these? Is it worth continuing this next year? I’d hoped to pull in others who’s want to share their months too, but that never happened, and no one responds to these posts so I don’t know if they’re even enjoyed/wanted/interesting or not!  Your thoughts?


October 12 in 12

November 1, 2017

I’m a day late, but at least I made it!  October is always a busy month.  It’s at about this point that I start to panic every year ha!  It’s the constant wondering do I have enough soap made, how will the new items sell, how will I be able to manage my crazy schedule…you think I’d realize by now that things all work out and not to worry, but no, I still worry and stress!  Anyway here you go, a view at hour October went for me.

October 1: Wax Melts

I wanted some winter scents. That’s what inspired a seasonal line.  I hadn’t been planning on making these that day, but I got an order for some and one of my standard scents I was out of (and didn’t realize).  Once I started restocking the standard one, I was like might as well just go ahead and make the seasonal ones. I’ve got everything out.  So, what would have been an hour project basically turned into an ALL day project.

October 2: Grinch Soaps

There are some soaps I make that I absolutely adore.  I love them. They just speak to me.  This was one of those soaps.  I can’t claim credit for the idea. I saw something similar somewhere and I thought it was cute.  So I came up with my own little twist and created these. Love them.  They just make me smile every time I see them.

October 5: Mini Winter Soaps

I quite often this time of year get asked if I have something small for children.  Little stocking stuffers basically.  So, with that in mind I made these soaps.  I’ll package them in sets of 4 and see how they go over!

October 6: Goodbye PO Box

I finally (officially) moved over my PO box to my new town.  It was the last element of the move I needed to accomplish.  It was a little sad to say goodbye to PO Box 1385, but I’ve now made friends with my new PO Box :D.

October 8: Mica Swirls

The first half of October continued my crazy soap making spree.  I restocked on (almost) all my standard soaps.  Pretty much most of my soap making is now down for the year.  There will be some restocking here and there, but it will be for after show season as it won’t be ready before the end of the season.

October 10: Label Creation

I’ve introduced a number of new soaps and new products this fall/winter season.  It’s meant I’ve had to make a lot of new labels.  I changed up my standard bar label a tad for the Grinch.  I also created new labels for all the other new products.  I had quite a day at the computer.

October 12: Lip Scrubs

Restocking on lip scrubs.  Now that the soaps are all made it’s bath product time.  Much to do (as you’ll see over the next few days).

October 14: Emoji Soaps

Let me start off by saying these are a pain in the backside to make.  It took a lot of experimenting to figure out the best way to make these.  They’re definitely not “perfect” by my standards) but they are cute.  I made these because I was asked by a long time Wholesale client.  I’m going to experience the with another method of filling the faces in the winter…once life slows down.

October 16: Photo Day

All those winter soaps…well they needed to be photographed! (They’re all listed on my webpage too if you’re interested).  I have a prop box.  Anyone else have a prop box?  Pictures can be challenging.  Some days they go great other days I can’t get anything to look right.  Luckily this was a good day. It was a bright but overcast day which is the easiest time to take pictures.  And I was happy with how I arranged the soaps for the photos. Some days I can’t get a composition I like.

October 20: Dryer Balls

My plan was make dryer balls in January and February when it’s slow (since these take time and are so labor intensive) and then not have to worry about it during show season.  I looked at the number I sold last year and then increased what I made but 1/4.  Apparently that wasn’t enough because here I am making another batch of dryer balls…and I have a feeling I’ll be making another round of them in November too. Guess that’s a good problem to have.

October 21: Show Season

Of course the weekends have been filled with shows.  🙂

October 25: Bath Bombs

I decided to redo how I label and package my bath bombs.  It was something I knew I needed to do, but took me a bit to figure out how I wanted to do it.  I love the redesigned labels and the new shrink wrapping. Both the old and the new methods had their advantages and disadvantages, but in the long run I think the new packaging looks much more professional and will hold up to wear and tear and not get “beat up” looking.

There you have it. The highlights of my month.  It’s been a crazy month where I think I’ve worked every single day. This snap shot doesn’t seem to do it justice when I look back over it.  But you got the highlights!  Here’s to next month! (Where I can assure you the craziness will continue).