Inspirational Friday

April 8, 2016

We should all live by this.  Instead of the dictionary defining problem as:

any question or matter involving doubt,uncertainty, or difficulty.

It should define it as:

an opportunity!

Do you agree? I think it would change the mentality of society and how they address and react to problems!

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Wisteria Boulevard

March 24, 2016

Last year when I made my cider soap I did a five layer alternating diagonal design for a 10 lb batch of soap.  It took FOREVER.  I loved the look and wanted to make it again, but I knew I had to do it on a smaller batch of soap.  So, here it is again with just four layers.

WISTERIA BLVD: classic floral fragrance comprises ultra-feminine notes of Wisteria, Rose, Violet and Ylang with undertones of precious woods and tender musks for a captivating and enchanting scent.

Top Notes: Melon, Peach, Coconut, Apple
Middle Notes: Ylang Ylang, Rose, Jasmine, Violet, Wisteria
Base Notes: Vanilla, Musk

I think it turned out really pretty.

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White Sage & Sea Salt

March 18, 2016

Swirls, embeds, and stamping…three techniques in one soap!  It makes for a lovely soap.

White Sage & Sea Salt: An inspiring blend of fresh sage and trendy sea salt backed by white washed driftwood will transport you to a place of natural harmony.

Top Notes: Lemon, Mandarin, Sage, Sea Salt
Middle Notes: Beach Juniper, Jasmine Vines, Island Gardenia
Base Notes: Weathered Driftwood, Cedar, Musk

I love stamping soap and I do it so rarely I couldn’t help but make another similar design (to Sweet Tea) so I could stamp again.

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Inspirational Friday

March 11, 2016

Most of you probably don’t know this, but I love to read (and write).  I got my Masters in Creative Writing (simply because I wanted it…not because I needed an Masters Degree for any reason…though I do use that degree now. I teach college English.).  I write (when I find time, which is hard to do these days, but I still try and make sure I’m always writing).

My focus has always been children (middle grade) and young adult historical/time travel/fantasy/science fiction.  I love history and I love mixing the past and the present (hence my love of time travel).  I read all sorts of books (with the exception of horror)!

I’d be lost without my books.  I usually set a goal of reading 50 books a year.  So roughly one book a week.  A good book can take away the troubles of the day, open my imagination, spark an idea, or just be a friend.

What do you like to read?  Do you find solace and inspiration in a good book?

2015-07-22 19.20.39


Creating & Testing a New Product: Shower Tabs

March 3, 2016

Shower tabs have been on my “to do” list since last year.  There are never enough hours in the day or days in the week or weeks in the year for me to get to everything though!  This year I was determined to experiment with them so they went to the top of my list.

It’s been interesting!  I had one recipe I knew would work (a variation from Holly Port’s book Make it Fizz.)  Then started the research. Over the past year I’d had been book marking a bunch of different pages I’d come across on making shower tabs.  From there I did some reading/research and then came up with five different recipes (six technically…but it was very similar to one recipe so I didn’t count it.)

The results were quite interesting.

Test 1: Baking Soda
I didn’t believe in this method from the get go.  I just didn’t think it would get hard enough or stay hard enough to last any significant amount of time in a shower.

First, despite experimenting with different amounts of water I couldn’t get these to hard up.  I tried putting them in the oven too.  Nothing worked.  They just never harden up much.  I could get a couple out of the mold mostly intact, but many ended up like the picture below.  Plus it took very little pressure for me to break them.  I wasn’t convinced they last through even half a shower.  I didn’t even bother testing these.

They were so soft I just broke up the baking soda and reused it in other batches.

Test 1

Test1_in mold

Test 2: Baking Soda/Citric Acid
(Please disregard the misspelled “backing”…my brain apparently wasn’t working when I was making the pictures.)

I did a couple variations of baking soda and citric acid.  This batch I put in the oven (mostly because I was curious to how they respond).  I didn’t think it would work to put them in the oven with citric acid, but I’d read a lot about people doing that.  All I can say: Complete disaster!

They grew and grew and grew.  It was kind of funny actually.  They still work and they’re quite hard, but they do dissolve faster.  In part because I think they’re not dense and water just goes through the entire tab, hence it’s dissolving faster.

Test 2

For your amusement: You can see just how MUCH the tabs grew in the oven. I tried the same recipe (with one minor alteration in Test 3) and as you can see they turned out much better.

Comparison - Test 2 and 3

Test 2 - Oven

Test 3: Baking Soda/Citric Acid
These were essentially the same as Test 2 (one minor change to the recipe).  I didn’t not apply any heat to these.  These are probably my favorite of all the trial ones.  They work well. They seem to last a full ten minutes in the shower (if I control how much water hits them) and they release a good aroma.

Test 3

Test 4: Baking Soda/Citric Acid w/ Oils & Butters

These worked mostly ok.  They were much softer than test batch 3 though and didn’t unmold as well.  Testing wise they work as well as Batch 3 for me, but they are softer and I think they last maybe a tad being less than Test Batch 3…is so insignificant an amount of time that it probably doesn’t matter.  The oils make them more expensive and I’m not sold on them being worth it in a product that basically is being washed down the drain.

Test 4

Test 4 Unmolding

 

Because these were much softer than Test 3 (with the only difference being the oils/butters) I did a second round adding more alcohol to them.  They were a little harder, but still softer than Test Batch 3.

Test 4a ADDED Alcohol

Test 5: Altered Recipe from Make it Fizz

These worked perfectly.  I like them, but I have one major problem with them. They’re SO EXPENSIVE to make (compared to the other four test batches).  I mean like 3-4x more expensive. And I have a hard time using such nice oils in a shower tab.  The oils just go down the drain…and to me that’s such a waste.

Test 5

There you have it.  I’ve got friends testing them for me now to see if they find the same results I do when they use them.  Overall, I think Test Batch 3 is my favorite of them all.


Inspirational Friday

February 26, 2016

Hard worker are words quite often use to describe me.  I don’t know where the work ethic came from (but I’m sure in part from my parents, growing up in the military, and being the oldest child) played a big part in it.

From as far back as I can remember I’ve worked for what I wanted. I’ve been unafraid to work long and hard for it…sometimes at the expense of other things in life.  I’ve wanted many things in life.  When I look back what I realize is all the things I REALLY wanted I’ve worked for and gotten.  I set goals (still do to this day) and I reach them. Sometimes it takes time, but I’ve always been willing to work for what I want and have the patience to wait for the work to pay off.

I guess this quote spoke to me because when I stopped and thought about things I’ve worked for in life that I’ve wanted they’ve all involved working (hard) for it.  It makes me proud though and I get a sense of accomplishment that makes it all the much sweeter when I achieve my goal.

how hard you work


Sweet Tea Zing

February 24, 2016

Can you say WOW that’s bright pink!  I used a really small amount of pink too and it still was WOW! I love it.  I love it even more with the pink-gray-white combo.  I’ve had a tea cup stamp that I’ve been wanting to use for ages and this soap’s design was totally designed around that stamp.

Sweet Tea Zing: this fragrance starts with the relaxing indulgence of sipping sweet tea with a zest of lemon, drops of honey nectar with the extra zing of cardamom.

Top: Earl Grey Tea, Lemon, Bergamot
Mid: Honey, Cardamom
Base: Mint Leaves, Green Tea Leaves

I like it.

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white_tea (7)


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