July 2, 2015
I hate taking tests, but I love to test my knowledge, and the best way to do that is take tests. (I know there’s something wrong with me here!). I love learning. I always want to know more, to expand my knowledge–even more so when it comes to soap. It’s my business, and it’s my responsibility to be as knowledgeable as I can about it.
In 2013 and 2014 at the soap conference I took and pasted my Basic and Advanced Certification in CP/HP Soap. I plan to do the Basic and Advanced in MP soap just to have. Even though I am not a fan of making MP soap I do teach it and I believe it’s important that I have a sound knowledge base on it.
When I passed the Advanced CP exam my first thought was: “Well, there’s still the Master Certification left.” I knew that one day I’d do it. I just didn’t think that one day would come quite so soon. In May I downloaded all the requirements for the tests and read them over and made a plan of action.
There was a lot I still needed to learn before I could even contemplate taking the exam. So, I made a three year plan. (Have I mentioned I’m a master planner ;).) I would take this year to learn how to make/do the requirements I didn’t yet know. I would spend my time answering all the essay questions so I knew them backward and forward and then I’d start thinking about what I wanted to do for my two research projects. Then the next year I’d register for the exam and the next two years would be spent completing all four parts.
Granted, life has a way of messing with the best laid plans, but this is a good start. And it’s flexible. If I need more time before I start it, that’s ok. This isn’t a race for me. It’s about learning and expanding my knowledge of soap making. I think it’s going to be a fun journey!
June 22, 2015
I always loved the idea of the bubble bars. I DID NOT like the idea of making them. Previous attempts had left me discouraged and not liking the time it took to make them or the results. While looking for some bubble bath for my niece this past Christmas I came across someone who made a crumble instead of a bar. I was sold on the idea before I even heard how my niece liked it!
I pulled out my old notes, did some more research, formulated a half dozen recipes. Then tested them. It was an interesting process to say the least. I had lots of fun testing the bubbles in my sink. As well as a few mishaps! I finally settled on a recipe. Had friends and family test it and love it.
I feel like a little kid again every time I make a batch of the bubble bath. It’s great! I forget how much I like to play around with new creations and formulate recipes. Even the disasters are fun and moments I can look back on and laugh at.
I have to give a shout out to my best friend. I had this idea for the labels. I sketched it out and said can you do this? We all know that final designs RARELY come out like the sketches, but she recreated my sketch exactly!!
June 16, 2015
I make these solid sugar scrubs that I LOVE. Bramble Berry first introduced me to them. Over time I’ve made a couple alterations to the recipe to get them to be just how I love them. The problem is they melt in the summer months. It was frustrating having scrubs that I couldn’t sell year round.
For the past two years I’d been trying out different emulsified scrubs. I’d start with base recipes and play around with them. I kept trying to alter them to resemble my solid scrub recipe. I was never happy with any of them. Then I tried yet another new recipe. I liked it. It was the first scrub that was anywhere close to what I wanted. I set to work altering the recipe and when I was done I was in love with the final product.
These scrubs aren’t 100% like the solid scrubs, but they’re close. They’re a bit more silky feeling and a little less “oily” feeling, but they still leave my skin feeling so nice when I get out of the shower. And best of all they are packaged in jars and I can sell them year round!
Look at that beautiful emulsified scrub! Firm, but still soft enough to scoop out of a jar, and filled with skin loving oils and butters.
I did a coffee and foot (pumice) emulsified scrub too.
June 8, 2015
My sister is getting married in July. As maid of honor I was responsible for the bridal shower. I have to say all that planning (and stress) paid off. It was a success!
After a long brutal winter I decided to go with a sunflower theme. I’m so glad I did. It all came together lovely. We did the table center pieces, decorations, invites, recipe cards, and soap favors to follow the sunflower theme.
I also made custom tags for the shower. Was really pleased with how they turned out.
CENTERPIECES: I had bowls with sunflowers in them and then I made baskets to hold the napkins and games we played. Everyone had fun with the games!
FOOD: No one went hungry! We had cheese, veggies, hot foot, fruit bowls, a candy station, cookies…and of course a CAKE!
DECORATIONS: I really did turn out so nice. Everyone enjoyed themselves and had a great time! I couldn’t have asked for more.
My sister and I. :)
June 6, 2015
I’ve been creating wedding and shower favors for a few years now (as you probably read in one of my previous posts). It’s lots of fun, but occasionally very frustrating…like when I decided to create a new favor for my sister’s bridal shower.
I don’t know how I got the sunflower theme in my head, but it popped in there. I think I was so fed up with snow and the fact that it was the end of March and we’d gotten yet another couple inches that I was in a “spring” mood when I started planning. I saw a picture of a sunflower and went man I wish some of those were around right now. And there it was I was going to do a sunflower themed shower.
I’d JUST finished making my Field of Sunflower soaps. It took me THREE days to make the connection that I could make sunflower soaps for the shower. When it finally dawned on me I got super excited. I changed the soap up a bit for favors. Instead of doing loafs I made individual cupcake soaps and piped the sunflowers on top. Then I had custom tags made.
It seems simple right? Let me tell you the process was anything but! Oh my word. I was trying to make the favors at times when I was short on time. That was my first mistake. Then I had to deal with soap hardening to fast to pipe or not hardening enough. It took me FOUR batches to finally get pretty tops. When I got that last batch looking amazing I looked at all the ones I’d done previously and groaned.
I’m a perfectionist. I had 15 lovely soaps from the last batch. I looked at the other 40 I’d made and they just didn’t compare. I thought I’d have to make them all over again. (Have I mention I’m a perfectionist?)
Decapitation to save the day! (What you ask?) The bases where perfectly fine it was just the sunflowers that weren’t great. I took out an exacto knife to see if I could pry off the sunflowers and reuse the bases. Worked like a charm. Decapitation was a success!!
Decapitated Flower Heads:
Perfectly Good Bases:
Redone PERFECT Sunflower Soaps:
June 2, 2015
This was the second soap I did for the Saponifier Challenge. They call it am “Embedded Circle” technique, but I really think it should be called a double embed. That’s really what it is. You’re creating one embed and then embedding it into a batch then taking that new soap and embedding it AGAIN into another batch.
I’ve done double embeds many times before. It’s a massive amount of work for a bar of soap! That said I love the technique. I will usually only do it on limited edition soaps (because it is so much work). When I saw this as a challenge I knew right off I’d be adding my own twist. I had a fragrance called “Seaside Escape” that I had been sketching out different designs for, but hadn’t settled on one I really liked. The only thing I knew was I wanted a nautical theme. The challenge kind of solidified everything for me.
Step 1: First I had to make a batch of swirled soap in a circular mold. I went for a subtle mix of blues/greens that made me think of the ocean.
Step 2: I had these mini ocean themed cookie cutters. The problem was that they were only 1/2″ deep. I had to take the circle embed I made and cut them in my soap cutter twice (so that they were 1/2″ deep and then I had to cookie cut EACH SOAP! Tedious.
Step 3: Next I embedded all the pieces into a cube mold I had and poured a white soap around the cut outs.
(Sorry this isn’t the best picture. I cut open one of the cubes, so you could see how the white soap filled in around my circles.)
Step 4: Once I unmolded the cubes I put them into a loaf mold and then made a new batch of teal soap to pour around the cubes. I had to do a mica top on it! You all know how much I love that technique.
The end result:
Totally worth it, but a three day process to make this soap and a lot of work to prep each stage.
May 27, 2015
This technique had been on my to try list for about 6 months. I even had all the supplies I needed for it, I just never got around to making it! It was fun. There are a lot of possibilities with this one and I’ll definitely play around more with it in the future. I did two batches this go around. One with a simple criss-cross pattern and one with a weird swirl pattern.
Garden Soap (Cool Citrus Basil):