Sunday, September 30, 2007

Something Luscious

There is something so luscious about a soap that has a funky textured top. They are a magnet for people to come and smell your bars. Luscious tops include some of these I have either found on the internet or have reviewed.

Stonehouse Soap

I hope some of you try new toppings if you haven't already. Seeds, herbs, swirls, a different colored top.... or just try making a nice texture on the surface and don't cut it off to make a perfect looking bar. I think people are looking for something different and more interesting looking than what they can get from the supermarket. If you make soaps that are unique and interesting looking, send me photos! I'd love to see them.

Biome in Australia

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Outside In

If any soaper wants to participate, here is the info I got today from Outside In, an organization to help homeless kids in Portland. Here is the email I received:

Dear Get Product The experience of being homeless is frightening, debilitating and fraught with risks. Access to basic survival needs such as food, clothing and shelter are daily challenges. The added challenges of neglect and abuse in early childhood, medical and mental health needs and emotional trauma make a life off the street seem almost inconceivable. But if given the chance, and offered the right resources, building a sense of confidence that moves homeless youth into employment, college, stable housing and improved health occurs every day. Outside In’s mission is to address the changing needs of homeless youth and other marginalized people as they work toward self-sufficiency and improved health by providing them innovative social, medical and mental health services and material resources. The Employment & Education Program enhanced and expanded learning and employment options for 336 youth this past year. 50 youth completed an advanced Job Readiness Training curriculum, learning critical skills to obtaining and maintaining employment. 91 youth received educational services, including 22 youth attending college. Along with extensive training and support, our Employment & Education Program provides homeless youth with basic hygiene supplies. Any donation of soap or other hygiene supplies to Outside In would be sincerely appreciated. It would be great to get travel size soaps or a large piece and we can cut it for distribution. If you have any questions or want to learn more about Outside In, please contact me at 503.535.3866.


Matt Weatherly
Development & Communications Assistant


Matt Weatherly | Outside In
Development & Communications Assistant
1132 SW 13th Ave | Portland, OR 97205 Direct:503.535.3866

Bulldog Soap

Bulldog. I love that name! This is not pet soap, however.

Kathy and Mark Trotter own and run their little soap company in Delaware, Ohio: Bulldog Soap. Their children had grown up and with their house quiet, decided to find a creative outlet which they both found in soap making. Lucky for me because I wouldn't have had the pleasure of meeting them. :)

I was sent two very cute soaps. Their most popular scent in their collection is the Cinnamon Spice, which brought me to a warm holiday place. I also received thier Almond Joy. Both of them smell great! I have only bathed with the Almond Joy so far. After being bubbly in the shower, I pushed the soap up to my nose (as I always do...) and it smelled a little like Almond Joy and a little like marzipan, which I also LOVE the taste and smell of. Yum. The bar had cut edges instead of smoothed ones, so I had fun breaking the soap in. Wash wash wash.

The soap cleaned me nicely washed off cleanly and the smell was not overpowering, but had a nice balance of scents playfully bouncing about the shower with me. The lather was not as copious as I prefer, but lather isn't everything. I quite like Bulldog Soap.

Good for Mark and Kathy for starting this business once their children flew the coop! I find husband and wife teams so interesting as I am in that situation myself. Working, playing and loving the same person all day and night is wonderful but also has its challenges. It works for my husband and I because we are so so different in many ways: processing, critical thinking, creativity, number crunching....oh you name it, if one of us can't do it, the other one has a way. A method. An idea. Anyway.....

Cheers and thank you Kathy and Mark for the lovely soaps!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Soap On A Stick?

French Roll Soap
Available at Vintage Weave.

This is French: A famous soap that's fastened directly to the wall in the shower for hygienic purposes. It comes with one Marseille soap (fragrance-free with pure vegetable oils which guarantees between 800 -1000 washings) and chrome holder that I guess drills right into your wall! Refills of olive soap are available as well so when your shower head looking soap runs out you don't have to screw another into the wall. Just put more soap on the chrome piece! I guess it sounds smart. No more soggy soap left in a puddle of water slime. I have to say, though, I don't know how I'd feel if I had to reach up to suds up every time I had to wash a body part. I imagine the blood rushing out of my hands when I need some bubbles. I know that I will never pay $57.00 for this invention, but it does have its merits and I applaud the inventor because no one likes soggy soap.

But there has to be a better way that won't cost almost 60 bucks to stock your shower with a bar of soap!

What do you think of it??

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Ocean Spray

I was on my lanai trying to shoot a photo of Soap and Such's Ocean Spray Luxury Salt Soap, when my kitty, Dot, came over and took a deep whiff of the bar. She looks sort of Zen-like to me.

I reviewed Soap and Such's Pink Sugar Whipped soap, which was a heavenly, bubbly, confection-like shower experience. So I tried the salt bar this week. It was a nice sized bar, wrapped nicely in a simple paper wrap and the top was embedded with rock salt, which was very cool looking. The photo does not show justice to the actual impact of chunky salt, which I think is a nice topping visually. The bar looked like the ocean with its smoky blue pattern and creamy white waves. My understanding is that the only whipped soap they make is the pink sugar one, but this bar looked and felt whipped as well. It didn't have that compact soap feel. It felt airier and light and was another heavenly bar in the shower. I used the salt top as a foot scrubber and it worked so nicely as a built-in exfoliator and smoothed my callouss a bit.

I'm not sure my husband was so into the smell, but to me it was soothing. It had a mild scent of kelp and soap, but not overwhelming and definitely not fishy or seaweed-like.

I give this one another thumbs up, with affordability being a nice incentive to buy plenty from their selection of pretty soaps!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Ipswich Bay Soap Company

The first thing I love about this soap is where it is made. It's made in one of the oldest houses in the country-250 years old! Owned and run by a family in Ipswich, Massachussetts (hence, the name of the company) the company still makes soap the old fashioned way. They use 100% all natural ingredients, dried herbs for texture, oxides and ultramarines for color and cured for a solid four weeks.

The photo below is probably of one of the tubs in the historic home. I have a thing for old farmhouses and when I was younger, we bought a hundred year old farmhouse just north of NYC. When I first saw the house, I felt like I belonged there. It was quaint and quirky, not manor-like and large, but so charming the way it sat on a hill at the bottom of a small mountain with a creek running through the center of the property. And I loved those old drafty wavy glass windows.
Back to soap.

I received a few bars of handmade soap from Ipswich and right away, I could tell that they must have been at this for quite some time. It was neat and cut perfectly, the soap wrap was nicely printed and fastened crisply and the scent was not overpowering at all. Very mild in scent, and mild on my skin. The smell of the Lily-Of-The-Valley soap was faintly floral with a hint of sweetness.

The other bar was a Lavender Oatmeal, and I am just not a fan of the Lavender Oatmeal smell, in or on anything, I'm sorry I have to say. Perfume, lotion, bubble bath, soap.... So I gave it to my mother who was pleased as punch with it! I should have had her write a review on that one because she really went on about it. The one I'm going to buy before it's all gone is the Pearberry, shown below, which just makes me want to eat it. Something about fresh fruit and cream colored bars of soap.... it just looks so inviting.

So all in all, I loved the soap. Very traditional and pure.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Soap Dishes at Brambleberry

I bought one of these nice sized ceramic soap dishes from Brambleberry last month and now I think I'll have to get one for every sink in the house. Black, sleek, Asian style ceramic soap dishes for sale for $1.00 each! 36 for $12.00 - okay, if you plan on giving soaps away for presents or want to give a more upscale presentation to your soap giving, this is totally the way to do it. One can embellish with cute ribbon or raffia or cloth - whatever floats your boat. The dimensions are 6" long x 3" wide x 1" tall. Nice size for a good thick bar of soap.

Hurry up and order them before they run out for the holidays!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Upcoming Soap Reviews - Stayed Tuned!

I haven't forgotten the soap reviews of soaps that have been sent for me to review.... I want you to know. I just need to have a few days with each soap, y'know, get to know them, see how my skin reacts to each soap after a couple of days, yadda yadda, You understand.

OK! Soaps that will be reviewed by me very soon are:
More Soaps And Such! (Ocean Spray Luxury Salt, Honey Spa Ginger, Chai Latte, ....)
Ipswich Bay Soap Company (Oatmeal Lemongrass, Lily Of The Valley....)
More Manor Hall Soap Company (Honey Me Smooth, Lady Springs, Hardy Har.....)
More Naked Lady (Olive Oil Oats & Honey)
Bull Dog Soap Company (Cinnamon Spice, Almond Joy)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Soaps And Such

When I was doing some poking around looking for whipped soaps, I found And as far as I can tell they only make one called Pink Sugar Aquolina Type Luxury Whipped Soap shown above. To me, this luscious treat looks like a very thick graham cracker crust delight with a colored whipped cream topping....maybe strawberry...cotton candy cream? So the first thing I did, was order the Pink Sugar Whipped soap and asked for almost all the soaps in sample sizes. Okay, get this. You can buy really nice sized soaps for $3 each (while her site is still under construction) AND you can order a mess load of samples for only $1 a piece so you can try them all without breaking the bank. Brilliant! I love it when everyone wins.

I get the box in the mail over a week later and every drop is so good smelling, I am having trouble not eating the sample slices. My full bar of Pink Sugar has exceeded my expectations. It doesn't feel whipped or light or strangely textured, but it looks a bit airy. I love it! The brown bottom definitely runs brown when it washes off, which is fine with me, because the soap is so yum I could care less what's dripping down the drain. The lather is great. Copious and perfect for my shaving-the-leg test and all around lather up the body. I didn't have to work very hard to work up a lather which is a sign of excellent soapmaking. I like that!

Unless you know what Aquolina Pink Sugar smells like, I can only describe it smelling like cotton candy - sort of, except it doesn't have that heavy sticky sugar smell.

I haven't taken my own photo of the partially used bar so you can see a close-up of one, so I'll add that as soon as I can. I just needed to get the post up. I will review some of the others I received from them as well combined in another post along with photos for you to see. In the meantime, here are a few pictures to make you drool. The greyish swirly one is
Ocean Spray Luxury Salt Soap and the blue gorgeous lad is Texas Cowboy!! YEE HAW! I'll have more to report soon.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Cold Process Soap Recipe (Vegan)

If you are looking to make cold process soap from scratch, you should familiarize yourself with some instructional soaping sites. One of which is Rebecca's Soap Delicatessen. Rebecca Dillon describes the whole process here.

The site provides this basic recipe for beginners that one can work off of but a great starting point to get your toes wet:

Basic Cold Process Soap Recipe

19oz. coconut oil
19oz olive oil
10oz palm oil

16fl oz. distilled water
7oz lye

At trace: 2oz. fragrance oil of choice

Follow your basic soap-making instructions for a great bar of soap with a creamy thick lather!

Remember, if you are ever substituting an oil for another oil in a recipe, you must recalculate the recipe to get the correct amount of lye needed since different oils & fats have different SAP values. Never make a substitution without completing this crucial step.

There are about 40 more cold process recipes on her site so if you want to play around there's a bit of guidance.

Friday, September 7, 2007


Villianess soaps are very different from any I have ever tried.

First, I'd like to say that Brooke, a young woman of 25, has made a name for herself. She has a unique approach to soap and creating her biz "image". I love it. I think it is very daring to be who you are in the face of possible rejection and I applaud her gumption!
Now, I am interested in pushing the envelope with just about everything, so when I heard some of the names of her soaps and scent combinations, I was intrigued, no doubt. I received the Dulces En Fuego among others, but this is the one I washed with yesterday in my shower. Totally unique scent. On her website it is described as having

Distinguishing Features: Cracked black pepper and cinnamon sprinkled throughout.
Characteristic Scent: Musky bitter chocolate sweetened with vanilla and touches of citrus then positively inflamed with black pepper and nutmeg.

I couldn't have described it any better than that. It took me a while to get to know the soap. Pepper and chocolate are not two scents I would have put together, but it slowly grew on me and I quite enjoyed the shower. The bar is a nice chunky bar, with cracked pepper on top, and since it has the pepper and cinnamon throughout, it had a nice mild exfoliating touch. The suds and feel were good and it looks so very brown and luscious - like a bar of chocolate. Brooke mentions that the bars are very high in glycerin, so do not leave your soap in a puddle of wet. It will get soft and disappear far more quickly than if it is housed on a dish. Get a soap dish or stand it on its side in the dry part of your tub or stall if you have one.

I'm not sure I am ready for some of her scents. Her "Pearl Diver" (pictured left) is quite beautiful and I love the kelp ingredients, and exfoliating bits, but be warned, it pushes the seaweed envelope and that may not be for everyone. The "Pyromania" soap smells like just that, smoky, peppery and full of soot - another strange combo. But good for Brooke for creating something different than lavender and oatmeal, which can get old after a while.Some of her soaps online: Blood (red wine & figs), Grundy (her swamp monster soap), Villianess (leather/floral), Anti Hero (leather, cigarette smoke, vanilla & honey), Bleach (soapy clean), Pimp (ozone & ice & salty), Asphyxiate (resin, patchouli & sandalwood) and Friction (deeply peppered wood smoke over a layer of creme) to name only a few.

I absolutely love her attitude and blatant honesty, but she may be targeting such a small audience with the smoke, leather and kelp scents she's chosen. I wish her the best of luck!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Coming Soon - Villainess Soap Review

They came in the mail and I am dying to get a chance to jump in the shower!! In the meantime, go visit her very cool site.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Sharing Recipes - Starting Soon

I have always loved the idea of learning from people in my field. I find it interesting to see what other people are doing because sometimes others ideas tend to spark my own. Then a product is born.

I am going to collect soap making recipes from all of you, hopefully if you decide to participate. I'd like to post one of the recipes for all to see. It might be helpful to someone to see what you might be doing, and for you to gather recipes and information for yourself.

What you can do is write to me at with the subject line "soap recipe", and I will go through all of them and post one per week. Include pictures if you can and any words of advice or frustrations that you want me to include. I think we can all help each other.

I love your feedback and will be happy to share any stories you want to include.

I am excited to see what transpires!