Thursday, November 29, 2007

Squishy Soap In The UK

Soap Flakes
Found this great ingredient at TTS Group, an educational products site in the UK.  Above is a picture of Soap flakes, which they claim is environmentally friendly, enzyme and bleach free and I am assuming that because their are children in the header of every page that is must be non-toxic and safe for children.

They also have Crazy Soap which looks a lot like shaving cream (which no doubt has the best texture but worst scent on the planet).  Says nothing except that it is fun.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


The peacefulness of this bar of soap was so pleasant, it made me not want to leave the shower.  For the last week, I have been showering until the hot water is all used up.  I know I should be conserving water, but I really couldn't help it.  It was like I was under some sort of spell.  The smoothness of the bar slid effortless over my skin, the lather....full bodied and perfect for drifting in and out of mindless daydreaming and even better for shaving.  The Almond Green Tea was a true delight for both the skin and the senses. Green tea, to begin with, has a calming effect on me, and then throw in an almond scent and you have a very calm bar.... maybe that's what I would have called it: CALM BAR, although people might read it as clam bar.  No, no no good.  Smells nothing like clams  :)

Ken Gilberg, one of the owners of Herbaria Soap was so kind and sent me lots of soap, even one for my daughter to review, who has yet to write it (yes, my 10 year old will write a review-watch out!) on their Spearmint Orange bar.  Ken and his wife, LaRee DeFreece have been making soap since 2000 and you can tell they have perfected the bar.  

Perfect cuts, professional packaging and nice lather. 

These are nice folks.  Their soaps will be a staple in my bathroom forever.
Thanks, Ken!

Gift idea:  The set below is called the 12 half bar mosaic.  What a lovely gift to give to someone special.  Go check out their site. 

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Montage - 20 year Old Soap Wiz

I found the Handmade Soap Blog this weekend and was amazed to find such beautiful soaps by a university student who is only 20 years old.  Talent!

"Princess Li Meets Earl Grey"



Go check out her textures.  She's not afraid to try new things and she is very creative.  Hopefully I can get my hands on a few of her bars and write a review!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Soap Making Boot Camp

Maybe this holiday season, give yourself or a loved one a soap making class. I know of two places that specialize in this that I would love to do in a heartbeat...(wink wink).

The first:
The Nova Studio in California with Lori Nova and David Critchfield
They are holding a 2 day Boot Camp on Saturday, January 26th and 27th (8 hours per day-16 hours total). See the description here. The cost is a mere $250 + a $25 materials fee.

Day one will be the basics on learning cold process soap making, including history, chemistry, using herbs and clays...etc. Second half of day 1 will be the "intermediate class" learning scent and color technique, embeds and swirling techniques.

Day 2: The first half of the day will be about hot process soap making and all that entails and the second half of day 2 is called,"Big Batch/Production of Soap" class. David teaches about making large batches of CP soap and offers tips on selling your soaps as a business. Limited to 14 students.

Amazing. I want to do this!

The other soap making classes I know of are taught by Anne-Marie (the soap-queen blog) or one of her soap making gurus of Otion in Bellingham, WA. My luck, both class offerings are on the West coast.

Otion has a Basic Soap Making class that is offered on Monday December 10th, from 5:15 pm- 7:15 pm. Limited to 7 people and costs only $25, but bring your apron, goggles and gloves.

Two very different classes, obviously. One is 16 hours of learning and the other 2 hours. So, if you live near Seattle, I'd say,"go get some classes at Otion", but if you live far away, it sounds like The Nova Studio would be an intensive workout for someone who can splurge for airfare, hotel accommodations, food and the class.

Update: Back Porch Soap Co. teaches soapmaking, natural skincare formulation, liquid soapmaking, anti-aging as well as bath & body business classes in Boston, NYC and San Francisco.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Update On Fraiche

I received this email from Katie, Fraiche's PR contact:

Yes, Johnan still hand crafts the soaps and swizzles. She does have a small team helping her – 4 people that she taught how to make the products. Even with the help, Johnan goes to work every day to make the soaps and swizzles.

Thanks again!

Have a happy and restful Thanksgiving!

Best regards,


Now, I am even more impressed!! She makes it all.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Honeysuckle Soap Bar from Fraiche

I received a box with two soaps and two bath bombs from Fraiche.  They have beautiful packaging down to the soaps that were housed in plastic flip top boxes.  The bombs were individually shrink wrapped and then boxed in beautiful chocolate brown flip top box with a peek-a-boo window. 

I did take pictures, but somehow, the bath bomb ones came out all wrong.  Here are pictures I've taken off their site instead.  The soaps were:  

Cinnamon Hazelnut (with coffee beans on top) which have some delicious sounding ingredients such as organic cocoa butter, ground coffee, coffee beans and cinnamon dust.  Smells like coffee and cinnamon and a little soap like, too.  Haven't tested this one.  

The Honeysuckle soap has goat's milk and unrefined shea butter as two of the many wholesome ingredients listed on their site.  The scent is pleasant and the soap feels lovely in the shower.  The wavy top served as nice finger notches (like the ones they make for steering wheels).  That bar did not slip out of my hands at all.  Always a plus, because I can't seem to hold onto a bar for longer than a minute in water.  It is kind of a joke.  The lather was copious and the bar itself felt so smooth as I washed.  So smooth.

Now, their swizzles are pretty impressive.  They say swizzle, I say bath bomb.  All the same, but the fancy name made me want to try it right away.  They were instantly usurped by my kids, but I have plenty to say on the matter, because I watched it fizz and felt the babe's skin afterwards.
Hula-la Swizzle

The Hula-la Swizzle fizzed incredibly for a good three minutes!  My son was truly fascinated by the fizzing action and the smell was intoxicating.  It was sweet with papaya and other tropical smells.  When that thing finally stopped fizzing, the bath had a soft pink hue and my son's skin was baby soft for days.  There is unrefined shea butter in there, but I will warn those who bathe with butters of any kind, whether it be bath bombs with butters or bath melts, bon bons, etc.  Wash your hair in the shower afterwards because shea butter does not look good in your hair.  Greasy greasy.

The other swizzle was beautiful but the scent was overwhelming.  No review on that one.  I couldn't stay long enough to see it "go" in the bath.

The PR rep sent me the products, so I have had no contact with the founder, Johnan Ratcliff.  I don't know if Johnan makes the products, or if they are made by hand at all.  I know she started the company making them, but since it all looks so well done, I don't know.  
Products were nice, presentation enviable, but a bit pricey for soap.  The swizzles are $17.50 for a box of three.  The soap is $12.50 per bar.  Typically soap bars of the same size (4 oz-5 oz) go for $3.oo-$6.00. 

It all is quite beautiful, though, I must admit!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

MMM Lime

Gianna Rose Atelier :::

The website is fun to browse with so many cute, cute soaps to look at. Here are a few that I particularly thought deserved some space here...

Citron Vert Soap Gift Box

These are really nice looking. I wonder if they smell as good as they look. I often crave limes and in particular, a lime drink that I started making when I was a bartender (way back when). It consists of juice of a lime, over ice with about 2 ounces of seltzer. Sometimes I add a dash of freshly ground salt. This is a tart, delicious and refreshing beverage we call here at the Schmidt house: Limey.. so as you can see, this soap has a special meaning for me because of my Limey addiction.  

Lime green:  The color of my hallway at home.

Pear Fruit Soap (Poire)

These pears?  The color of my kitchen.  Love it!

Robin's Egg Soap

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Artful Soap Boxes

Pop Ink Soap ::: soap boxes with flair.

The artwork is varied and there is so much to choose from! Soaps are "made in the USA with triple milled. all natural essential oils, and lathering up with a fresh verbena/lavender scent...."

So I guess they are all the same with different artwork. I like the art, but the soap sounds as if there's a bit to be desired.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Yummiest Handmade Soap Contest

Crystal of Cute Indie Finds and I have joined forces and are running the "Yummiest Handmade Soap Contest" together, her in California and me in South Florida. Talk about logistics.

Here is the scoop:

From now until December 15th, anyone interested in participating in the Yummiest Handmade Soap contest should contact Crystal via email at Please be sure to put "Yummiest Handmade Soap" in your subject line.

Here's the GOOD STUFF.
First Place: Will receive 6 months of free banner advertising here at Cute Indie Finds and at The Soap Bar. And, of course, the bragging rights as the purveyor of the Yummiest Handmade Soap!
Second Place: Will receive 4 months of free banner advertising on both blogs.
Third Place: Will receive 2 months of free banner advertising on both blogs.

All eligible entries (handmade soaps) must.....

1. Be your own creation. That means YOU MADE IT.

2. Send two full sized bars in order to be considered.

3. Judges will include myself, Crystal of and Joanna of

"Entries must be received by December 15, 2007 to be considered for this contest. Please consider shipment times and/or possible shipping delays before hand so that your package arrives to me by the deadline. International entrants should allow extra time for shipping."

5. "Winners will be announced at some point during the month of January. The announcement will be broadcast for three consecutive days. The winner will be notified of these days prior to the announcement."

6. Only winners will be announced. All others can email myself or Joanna if they would like feedback on their soap."

7. Judging will be as follows
50% on the soaps moisturization qualities (ie: how the
skin feels after being rinsed.)
30% on the soaps appearance (packaging, how the product
looks and feels, color)

10% on the creativity of the soap
10% on the scent of the soap

8. We are not responsible for lost entries. We recommend delivery confirmation or signature confirmation.

9. Please submit a list of ingredients (unless they are already on the label) with your submission.

Please mail contest entries to only one of us (whichever address is closer to you):

Crystal Astolfo
834 Banyan Dr.
Redlands, Ca 92373

or to:

Joanna Schmidt
PO Box 3773
Tequesta, FL 33469

We welcome any questions, comments or suggestions. Please email Crystal at or Joanna at


And if you make soap, send it in to one of us, and if you don't, then come back to see what the Yummiest Soap is so you can scoop some up for yourself!!

Reviews To Come

The next 3 soap companies will be getting reviews this week.

- Soaps and Swizzles
Swizzle : Dewy Cactus Flower

- Soaps

Pink Grapefruit Soap

Raven Moon Soaps
- Whipped soap!

Whipped loaf ready for action

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"Full Moon"

Sharon of Morgan street Soap sent me this picture of her soap shortly after the deadline of the soap photo contest. Sorry it couldn't be included in the contest, but it certainly gets my mention. I love the uniqueness of it. Reminds me of Mars or some far off distant planet not in our solar system.

Maybe she'll send me a bar and I can review it .... ;-D

Sunday, November 11, 2007

And The Winner Is......

This was hard. There were lots of different kinds of soaps that were sent and considered, but I had to pick one. Kelly DeVries of Molly Coddle Etsy Store won the prize with her PEEPS! Here is a peek (below) from her etsy shop of some unusual goodies I wished were in MY house!

There were two other soapers in close second:

Stephanie M. from Playing With Soap
I have a love for her soaps, even though I have never tried them. This one speaks to my heart because of the coconut creamy topping. I almost picked this one!

Irena from Ginger's Garden
Nice glitter and swirl control. The butterflies are lovely and whimsical, too!

I have good news for the rest of you.....Crystal from Cute Indie Finds and I will be running a contest together as a team in search of the Yummiest Handmade Soap. See the contest rules on her site.

Congratulations Kelly DeVries of Molly Coddle Etsy Store.
I will be mailing the oils and butter to you on Tuesday. I hope you use them well... :)

How DO you make those peeps anyway!? They look edible!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Last Night For Contest Entries!


Come on, go take the picture of it. It IS beautiful and unique! Don't second guess yourself!!!!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Pretty Soaps on Trunkt

Found these on Trunkt and couldn't resist putting up photos of the works of art.(above) Roses Love Patchouli soap Flower Peddler

Clary Sweet

Jelly Bean


above 3 soaps by Mickey Byrd Soap

Black Raspberry Vanilla

Sweet Pea

(above) These 2 by Morgan Street Soap

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Review: Simply Soap

I was so pleasantly surprised when Carol Ochs of Simply Soap sent me these. Can you believe how beautiful it all is? The packaging is great. Simple. Colorful. The paper was so well printed I even squinted to see pixels or something, but it was seamless and the artwork was so nicely done.
Three bars from the Wild Faerie Soap Collection

Two triangle hunks from the Rustic Soap Collection

Rustic wedge-chunk soaps are cut into large triangle chunks - made in the tradition of Old European soapmaking....100% natural, and made with 100% Certified Organic virgin African shea butter! Notice that this block is made of 2 large triangles.

I have been using the Wylde Jasmine & Orange Blossom Faerie Soap for the last few days and the overall experience has been lovely. The soap itself is stunning to look at, but when I take the paper of rub it on in the wetness of my shower, it performs like a trooper. Scent was balanced, sweet and soft like the outdoors and the lather was what you'd expect from a soap that has come from a woman making soaps since 1994. That is a long darn time ago.

The soap is a dream.

She also makes artwork (Wild Oaks Art) which is used on the soap wraps and sent my daughter a bookmark with this image on it. Nina flipped! "Oh, mommy, she is so beautiful! This is for me??" My daughter reads about a novel or more per week and the bookmark is constantly found throughout the house where she has been reading.

Thank you, Carol, for a truly wonderful soapy experience!!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Soap Contest Update

You may send as many photos as you like. They will all be considered. Each soap will be an entry, not each person.

The only rules? That the soap be yours.

Send send send!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Soap Photo Contest

For Soapers and Bath and Body folks: a give-away for your formulations, maybe....?

Send me the most unique soap creation of yours in photo form. The most unusual will get these fragrance and essental oils along with 4 oz. of coffee butter and I will post your creation on my blog for all to see.

Here is what is included in the give-away:
  • 1 oz Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil from Majestic Mountain Sage aka MMS (smells nothing like cinnamon fyi if you didn't know that)
  • 1 oz. Kailua Bay fragrance oil from MMS
  • 1 oz Lemongrass Essential oil from Snowdrift Farms
  • 1 oz. Plumeria fragrance oil from MMS
  • 1/4 oz or 1/2 oz (?) of Rosehip & Jasmine fragrance oil from Brambleberry
  • 1 oz Tea Tree Essential Oil from Brambleberry
  • 1 oz. Carrot Seed Essential Oil from Brambleberry (smells nothing like carrots if you didn't know)
  • 1 oz Tea Ceremony fragrance oil from Brambleberry
  • 1 oz. Black Tea fragrance oil from Brambleberry
  • 4 ounces of Coffee Butter from MMS (smells just like coffee butter)
Here are close ups of the oils:

Send the pictures to me in digital form, please, to jo(at)productbody(dot)com - I hate writing that out, but I guess those nasty computers will pick up my email addy and spam the heck out of me.

Good luck and get me those photos. I can't wait to see what you've made!!

Contest ends November 10th and I'll post the winner on the 11th. Good luck!


Friday, November 2, 2007

Review: Lote Tree Chocolate Cake Soap

The Lote Tree. One of the best bars I have tested so far. Let's put the scent aside for a moment and look at the bar. Nice soap stamp. I love the whole soap stamp thing and I'll tell you why it is a good marketing idea. Once I am in the shower and I have used the soap a few times, the name has been winking at me all week, yeah? ...when it gets time to wanting another, I think, "who made that bar?". If you are faced with the stamp for a few days, you are more likely to remember the soap-maker. So stamps are not just beautiful if they are done right, they also make a good selling tool, so your hard work gets remembered.

OK, back to the bar. I get in the shower, as I do every morning, and I take my chocolate cake with me which has been sitting there waiting for me to try it. She was-a-calling on Halloween, so I say (out loud, no less), "Lote, come with me!" I get in, get wet, and when the bar touches my skin ... BOOM, it instantly is lathering, the foam encompassing my body as I rub rub a dub. Great, big lather.

I couldn't place the scent, though. It was chocolate-y but not quite like chocolate cake. I sniff, I lather some more and then it hits me especially now that the candy season of trick-or-treating is upon us. It smells like a big fat Tootsie Roll!

The best part: it has exfoliating bits (exfoliating coffee grounds) throughout the whole bar for a truely invigorating experience.

So Halloween morning I lather with the yummiest soap filled with Tootsie Roll power and instantly I am in the spirit of the Day Of The Dead. Lote, oh yummy bar, you are so sweet! This one gets a thumbs up. Go to Jessie's Etsy shop and shop.

Jessica Booth: soapmaker