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.

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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).


September 12 in 12

September 30, 2017

E-X-H-A-U-S-T-E-D!  Umm…I think I started last months post just like this.  If it’s possible to be more exhausted I think I am ;).  It’s that time of year…I’m just going to always be a little to a lot tired :D.  So, are you wondering what this month looked like for me? Well wait no more! Here you go. It was a crazy production month…mostly soap, but still other things got made too!

September 1st: Embeds 

I was a bit behind on starting my winter soaps this year (moving and all…) but I got them ALL made this month…and for whatever reason somehow my winter soaps designs always end up with most of them involving embeds! Which makes everything so much more work. Here are the first of the embeds I made!

September 6th: Travel Soaps!

I packaged almost 200 travel soaps.  Not hard, just tedious.  They’re pretty popular soaps, and I was almost completely out of stock. I should be good for a while now ;).

September 8th: Christmas Lights…gone wrong.

This soap is a PAIN to make. 1) I need to get more light bulb molds. 2) It not only involves embeds but pipping too.  I was so excited to make this once I got my embeds done (aren’t they pretty)?  And then what happens? The pretty white soap they’re embedded in turns BROWN!  I was so upset (still am). My fault for not testing the fragrance, but it was clear in the bottle and I thought I’d be ok. They smell great, but I’m just so bummed over the final soap.

September 9th: More Packaging!

Sometimes I feel like I spend a lot of my time packaging! These are half bars that are all going into gift sets that I had to package.

September 10th: Square Updates

I had a photo shoot for the fall soaps that debuted this month, which meant I had to add them to Square. I can’t tell you how much I love Square and being able to basically keep track of all my inventory and what I sell in a quick and easy manner at shows.

September 12th: Yet again more embeds!

I did mention that many of my designs involved embeds for the winter soaps right? Ha!  I love the crazy bright color of these embeds.

September 15th: Lip Balms & Gift Sets

Multi-tasking, when I label the lip balms and package the gift sets at a market ;).  Using my time wisely.

September 16th: Swirl Swoon

Oh my! I was just in love with the top of this soap.  Aren’t the swirls pretty?!?!

September 19th: 5000 Bars!

And on this day I made my 5000th bar of soap for the year :D!  With what I’ve made since and what I still have to make I’m pretty sure I’ll come close to (maybe pass) making 6000 bars this year.  This is a great thing! It means business is growing. All that hard work seems to be paying off.

September 22nd: More swirled tops!

I was having a really good month of swirl tops. This is another one I just fell in love with!

September 23rd: A new design…

I got this idea to make a Santa belt soap.  I didn’t know how, but I was determined to do it.  I played around with sketches and my molds and finally figured out how to do it.  It’s not perfect…there are things I’ll change/fix up next year, but I was really happy with how this soap turned out :D.

September 26th: Dry Rack

It’s not  quite full in this picture but two days later it was completely filled!  There’s A LOT of soap on the dry rack!  Just waiting for October to come so it can be sold!

And a bonus picture: I had to start my 2018 calendar :P! Yup…already planning/scheduling things for 2018. *OYE*


August 12 in 12

August 31, 2017

E-X-H-A-U-S-T-E-D!  I’m so tired.  While I’m pretty much settled in from the move and finally getting caught up on making everything, I still feel like I’ve run four marathons back to back to back…  A lot has been going on.  It’s just that time of year where the craziness starts and it won’t slow down until Christmas comes.

August 4th: The Corner Spot 

The first two weeks of August I set up in a little pop-up (affectionately called “The Shed”).  This was part of a town initiative in Ashland to create a community space.  They created a park area, and the shed for local artisans and food to come in set up for a time and sell their products.  I had applied to be a part of this back in February when they sent out a call for proposals.  I figured it would be a good experience–especially if I wanted to one day have my own store front.  Here’s my set up. I’ll have a full post soon on more about my time there.

August 7th: Restocking 

One thing I was able to do while set up in Ashland was work.  It was nice to have a space to do stuff when the shop was slow.  I restocked on my Gifts for the Magically Inclined. Going to have to make more soaps! But hopefully I’m restocked for the moment.

August 8th: Soap Soap Soap!

I continued on my crazy soap making spree in August.  Here’s lilac in the mold.  I finally got (mostly) all my restocks made and my fall soaps done.  Now I can start thinking about making the winter soaps ha! It never ends.

August 9th: Baby Shower Favors

Baby Shower favors! I adore these.  The customer wanted an earthy green and it was so much fun to be able to do something just a little different than my normal colors!

 

August 1oth: Bath & Body Class

I had classes all week  while at the corner spot.  This was a teen Bath and Body class that day. It was lots of fun making product with the girls! Hopefully inspiring some young girls too!

 

August 11th: Custom Anchor Soaps

Aren’t these pretty! I love the simplicity of them and can’t wait to design the labels to go with them.

August 13th: Pranks

I house sat for my parents while they were gone in August.  And my dad (an Army guy) played a prank on his neighbor (an Air Force guy) while they were on vacation in July.  Well I walk out on the deck to water some flowers only to be startled by this lovely rat. Ha! Go Army! I was raised right ;).  I know who’s the best.

 

August 14th: Lip Balms

Oh my! If I never see another lip balm tube again. Ha!  It too me a week, but I restocked on all 16 flavors I offer.  Almost 1000 lip balms made. I’m hoping they’ll get me through the winter season, but I have a feeling I’ll be making lip balms again before the year is over.

 

August 15th: My Happy Place: The Dance Studio

Despite all the work and craziness I’ve made time to make it to ballet each week.  It’s my happy place–where I can just forget about all the worries for an hour and lose myself in dance.

August 17th: Transparent Soap!

I make a pink grapefruit soap with goat’s milk. I make my soaps go through gel phase. This soap went through an intensive gel phase! 24 hours after I made it-completely cooled and it has this glassy slightly transparent look. I’ll be interested to see if this changes as it cures! I’ve NEVER had a soap stay this transparent looking!  It’s super cool. You can see my finger behind the soap!

August 18th: Designing Custom Labels 

 

I had a couple custom orders this month. They’re so fun to do for me.  Remember the anchor soap for a few photos up…well I got to design labels for them. I was really happy with how they turned out. This was my initial sketch I started with before I put them into Photoshop.

 

August 21st: Mini Vacation Starts (Sort of) 

Every year I take the last two weeks of August off from shows (I cheated a bit this year I did schedule two weekend farmers markets…but the other 12 days are mine).  I need this time to 1) Work on Winter  Soaps and restocking products and 2) to recoup and relax! I am utterly exhausted by the time I get to the end of August and crazy show season is just about to start.  I need that break to get through the coming four months.  This year more so that normal! I have plans to do some work (what needs to get done) and then I’m doing some day trips, exploring my new town, and just enjoying life and some time off.

Oh…one last thing if you haven’t heard. I offically (finally) started an Instagram account! I know, I know it took me long enough. You can find me here: jennifer_soap


July 12 in 12

July 31, 2017

Oh my word!  Let me tell you!  Moving is tough.  I sit here now and wonder how my parents did it over thirteen times with me growing up!  I function only with order and a schedule (even if it’s a wacky schedule).  And moving completely threw me off my game. I’m finally starting to get back into a pattern of things and getting used to being in a new location!  This month was all about unpacking/hanging pics/curtains and basically settling into the new home (no pics of that).  And then getting into a rhythm with the new studio space and shows.

July 1st: Complete and Utter Chaos! 

This is actually one of the less scary pictures of the craziness of my new work space as I went about setting up the space.

July 6th: Shows! 

Work/Shows didn’t stop and wait for me to move. 😀  Let me tell you it was a challenge at times to manage it all.

July 8th: Order

Here’s a two parter.  I went from the first picture of starting to get it all pulled together to the second picture of it finally all came together in the span of 24 hours. Haha! Once I was on a roll I was really on a roll!

July 9th: Final Touches 

This was the final touch to be added to the studio.

July 1oth: Bath Bombs!

I was finally officially back and working in the studio by the second week of July.  One of the very first items I made in the new studio were bath bombs!

July 12th: Soap

After basically not being able to make anything for a month with the move I have become a crazy lady making soap. I’m soooo far behind on things it’s not funny.

July 14th: Lists

I live by my lists. That’s how I get things done.  So I sat down and took stock of everything I needed to make/restock for my soaps and made a list.  19 batches long… OYE!  I’m making soap as fast as I can!

July 16th: Custom Favors

Finished up some custom labels today for a baby shower order 😀  I’m definitely getting back into the swing of things.

 

July 18th: Fall and Winter Soap Planning

Normally by this point I’ve already started my fall soaps. Obviously I’m a bit behind on things this year…I’m JUST now sketching out my ideas for my soaps.  And my mind is refusing to cooperate and come up with fun/cute/creative designs.  *sigh*

July 24th: Coconut Oil Solid?!?! 

My coconut oil is solid.  It’s July.  I’m not thrilled that it’s THAT cold that my oil solidified.

July 28th: Packaging More Gift Sets 

50 sets finally made…just ribbons left to put on. So much I’m behind on.  I feel like I’m never going to get caught up.

July 30th: A “soaptastic-load” of Soap 

I made sooooo much soap this month.  This is my dry rack minus a few batches that I need to get cut.  I’m so tired of soap.  Did you ever think I’d say that! Ha!  I’m not really sick of soap, I just need a break from making soap day in and and day out!  Every soap you see here was made in July! I’ve got about 15 more batches to go to really be caught up!