Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Year Of Incredible Growth

I'm not a big New Year's Eve crazed individual, but all this talk about "this year in review" on the radio, tv and on blogs all over got me thinking about accomplishments I've made in 2008.

Do you remember this?

That was only in March of THIS YEAR! I have been researching and reading and working really hard to make a good bar of soap. I have my whole lifetime to get better, but with the 18 months of reviewing other soapmaker's soaps, I have really been critically thinking with every shower... doing research daily. Who would think doing homework while getting clean was even healthy? I guess everyone does it where they need to. Some, while doing their daily workout, others during their commute, and then others not at all.

My third batch was a disaster. I didn't even know what a lye calculator was. How did I figure out the recipe? :P

This year has been quite a ride. I feel so incredibly lucky to have started this blog because I have met so many incredible people along the way. I really never realized there were people who were so encouraging and helpful. And look what happened. I have found that soapmakers are some of the nicest group of folks I have come across. So generous! Generous with knowledge and time, especially and I only hope that I can give myself back to them... much as I can for this coming year again and more.

Let's keep going. Give me feedback. I love to hear it. I'd love to know where you'd like to go, what you'd like to see, who you'd like to hear from, any particular tutorials you'd like to see.... I am also looking for guest bloggers, so if you have some interesting content or a tutorial you want to share, please get in touch with me.

Love in the New Year, all!!


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Domaly Soap Porn - You KNOW it!

Crystal, of Domaly, is a lovely woman. She has been nothing but nice, helpful and encouraging as a fellow bath and body person. I haven't found that many of them out there. Oh yeah, many soapers are eager to help, but b+b ers? No. Anyway, I would do anything Crystal asked me to, really (although she has no idea I am writing this).

After a setback in Crystal's life, she closed Domaly and came back soon after with Sugar Rush by Domaly. Sugar Rush is a great name... it's catchy, fun and speaks to the masses, I think - it certainly speaks to ME with my heavy addiction to sugar and everything dessert related.

Here are some of her soaps and sundries that I hopefully will have the pleasure of trying one day when I get my act together.
Tropical Passion Salt Bar

Rock Candy Salt Bar
You know how I love salt bars.....

Iced Penguin Soap (cute!)

Grapefruit Lip Balm with Cocoa and Avocado Butter

Cherry Almond Body Butter Lotion in Push Up Tube

Crystal, Happy holidays. Merry merry to you and yours!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Coconut Lemongrass?

I am looking for a coconut lemongrass fragrance oil that is superior. I love to eat coconut lemongrass soup so.... any suggestions?

I also continue on my rather expensive and lengthy search for the ultimate coconut scent. Through it all and many many fragrances later, I have not found a coconut I am happy with. I want COCO LOCO coconut. CRAZY creamy coconut... not a hint. A coconut milk my-face-is-IN-a-coconut-and I am sipping a pina colada coconut.

I know, it is the Winter, but I've got the Tropics on the brain. What can I say?

Darn, now I want Thai food. Maybe I should just go get some and rub it all over me and call it a day.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Glamour Of It All

Gabriele (aka macsoapy) of That Soap Site and Einfachseife made a funny. She is a very talented soaper and business woman in Germany who I admire and respect. She liked the soap necklace I highlighted the other day and she thought it would be nice to come up with her own soap jewelry concept.

I am LOVING the glamour, the style, the glossy magazine coutoure look. Perhaps soap will be the next cool thing to wear.



(Gabi's blog is in German, so the following is translated through Google)

Soap Necklace

Joanna yesterday again purest soap Porn in her blog THE BAR SOAP published.
Among other things, is a topping of Mrs macsoapy to see. But even a sexy chain of perfect little soap balls.

That is why today I show my interpretation of a soap chain.

Joanna, this picture is for you.

photo - courtesy of Gabriele Kappes of Einfachseife blog/ That Soap Site

Major Sale At From Nature With Love

If there are oils you've wanted to try, but didn't want to spend full price for, here is your chance. I think From Nature With Love (FNWL) carries high quality products and I have always been happy with everything I've ever bought from them, but unfortunately, they have priced themselves too high - for me at least.

Emmy Gabriel writes FNWL's blog Natural Beauty Workshop, which you should check out. She has wonderful ideas and beautiful photography, too.

'Til next time...

Monday, December 15, 2008

I Owe You

I have been sent soaps by amazing soap maker artists and I have not been sharing OR posted any soap reviews for some time now. The holidays do not normally throw me into a state of I-have-no-time-to-do-anything-for-myself, but this year with building the lab/shop for Product, I have stretched myself so thin, I haven't given the soaps the time and attention they really DESERVE.

It's not that I do not LOVE them. It's not that I do not ADORE your lovely notes and soapy goodies and creations. It's not that I do not COMPLETELY appreciate you reading this very sentence and sending your friends to read the blog, too. It will get exciting again in January. I PROMISE.

I have plans of writing frequently again and I will be looking for unique approaches and techniques. I am eager to share your video or photographic tutorials with the world (yes, we have a lot of people all over this globe that read this blog, so come be part of it!). I love your comments, emails and additions. You are the reasons I got into the soaping world to begin with so I owe you. I owe you lots of good blog content and my deep gratitude.

You guys rock.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cool Designs

I forgot to link to Ramon Middlekoop Design in my last post, so not only am I linking, but I am showing you some other cool things he designed, including Norman and Chester. Ramon is based in The Netherlands and is a year younger than me (why is that relevant?). I am LOVING his style.

Norman The Doorman, doorstop

Chester, bag

School Tools, pencil swing set

What caught my eye in the first place was the soap necklace he designed which blew my mind. The photograph is stunning, too, I might add, but who thinks of making a soap piece of jewelry?

Ramon Middlekoop!

g o r g e o u s

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Little Soap Porn Here! A Little Soap Porn There!

I haven't done soap porn in a while for you and I KNOW you must be shaking and twitching right now from withdrawal. sooooooooo, I had to look not so far and quite near indeed, to get you some sweet sweet porn... Come on in and take a good look at some good eye candy. BIG EYES, BABY!

Christmas Tree Centerpiece (tutorial on Anne-Marie's blog)

Frosted Soap Cake by Sherrie of Birch Bark Soap

Sampler Horizontal - Birch Bark Soap, too

Soap Jewelry by Ramon Middlekoop Design

Macsoapy of That Soap Site creates a soap topping that looks edible!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Sugar Cubes

These are interesting. I made these over a month ago and forgot about them. Aren't they cute? They smell amazing like some confectionery gift from God. I took one with me to the shower yesterday and I had myself a rockin good time. I like a scrubby, mean exfoliating shower bar, perhaps more than the next person, especially on my lower legs. I like smooth ones, too, don't get me wrong, but if you are into the scrub factor, come a little closer.

It's like a hard sugar scrub held together with soap - you may fall in love.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pumpkin Pie Soap + Do Right

I used my Mr. Do Right molds and I was hoping for an easier outcome. I tried an olive oil soap this time, so automatically, it's softer soap, but it was HELL getting it out of that HDPE mold. I had to cut it out. Three days later there was no separation from the mold, so I started to cut it out.

I then contacted the person who originally told me about Mr. Do Right. She said that she uses cyclomethicone (body safe silicone liquid) and then a spray of Pam and her soaps pop right out. Hmmm. So I did that, so now I have another soap in and it's stuck. Yes, another conditioning soap with shea butter and all, but grrrr. I am frustrated. $75 and I am more frustrated than before. I was hoping this would make things easier.

I think the next purchase that I make will be from Upland Soap Factory. A highly respected seasoned soaper directed me to them. Heads up: they close on December 20th and do not re-open until March, so if you are eager, get on!

(These embeds are pumpkin soap from the LAST pumpkin soap. Hey guess what?? The whole thing is going to turn into the same color. duh. I am so on top of the game at night, it's not even funny!)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Lost The Challenge But Ikea Was Fun

I can't believe it. I had two days to go with this writing challenge and I missed a day.

I was doing physical work all day yesterday and then at 5pm, Brad and I drove over an hour away to IKEA. Fun store. We had fun, ordered some stuff, sat in chairs, ate Swedish meatballs and perused their Marketplace. If you've never been to an IKEA, it's like a huge warehouse. The upstairs is set up like a maze comprised of decorated rooms displaying different furniture, decorations, etc. Each piece of furniture is tagged with an aisle number and place number. At the beginning, you are offered a tiny pencil only a child would feel comfortable drawing with and paper to jot these numbers down. If you want to buy it, you have to go at the warehouse at the end of your journey through IKEA and locate your aisle and place number to find your furniture in a box.

I love rolling around the decorated upstairs because I like to see how other people decorate and I have dozens of rooms to peek at and sit in if I want. Living rooms, kitchens, offices, bedrooms, kids rooms, and on and on. Then when you are done with the hour long tour of the upstairs, you follow the stairs to the lower level (the Marketplace), where you get your shopping cart and find all the dishes, baskets, rugs, towels, fabrics, vases, ...everything you saw on display in the rooms upstairs except for furniture.
This is where I like to browse, but this is where Brad wants to hurry through. He wants to rush through this part, get the furniture in boxes and get on line before everyone else does. Well, we have a tendency to close the joint, so I understand his thought process, but stop rushing me!

So I lost the writing challenge with two days left in November. I've had an exhausting week, but Friday and Saturday were more than busy, they were jam packed with LONG hours and last night I just fell asleep.

Thanks for coming, reading and supporting me. You have NO IDEA how it pulled me through. You guys ROCK.

Friday, November 28, 2008

I Am Thankful

I have beautiful memories of my family. I share a few with you... I attempted to make them in chronological order...

Nina as a stubby nub.

that's Desmond - age 18 months

My best friend...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Full Of Turkey

I have so much to be thankful for, but I am full and can't talk about it now.

My belly is filled with turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing with apples, strawberries, whipped cream, shortbread and IBC root beer. I am stuffed to the gills. Now I think I'll have some tea and snuggle on the couch with my soft pajamas and NAP blanket and watch a bit of tv.

Excuse me while I go into a food coma.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mr. Do Right

I have been struggling with what soap molds to use since I started soaping. And I know you all have, too, in your own way. There are so many to choose from! Brad made me one that is awesome, but lining has been a challenge. Then I found that incredible instructional video that saved me from losing my mind, because the step by step instructions were so easy to follow, I actually could take freezer paper and line any mold without creases! Every time. So when lining wasn't an issue, shape became my focus. I bought some molds from someone and they produced very square bars, which is lovely, but I want to also make rectangular bars that is easier to hold in the shower.

There are silicone molds, wooden molds, wooden molds with silicone liners (Elizabeth of Longcroft Soap uses those and makes such AMAZING soaps!) and hdpd molds. You can use old food containers as Anne Marie of The Soap Queen blog wrote about just the other day, pvc pipes, tupperware.... there are so many vessels to pour soap into its fantastic. Well, I found some great soaps out there perusing the soap world as I do and asked the soap makers who made them what mold they used, and sure enough, BOTH of them said, "Mr. Do Right on Ebay. Wouldn't pour into anything else."
REALLY? So what did I do? I bought the 3 lb molds (set of 2 with a cutter mold and soap slicer). See the pictures.

The Ebay listing photgraph

My patio photos

Tonight I made Pumpkin Pie soap in one of the molds and I will reveal pictures tomorrow. I am so happy. Rick, the guy I dealt with is really great. He is a good business man and I'd deal with him again and again and I'll be buying from him again! Very soon. Like tomorrow. ;)

update:  You must line these molds.  :(

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Brad Wears Victoria

Maybe a bit personal, me showing you my bra and me showing you my husband wearing my bra....on his public....driving his Jeep.

What can I say? A blog post a day will do that to a person!


Monday, November 24, 2008

To Holidays!

Wine scented or are they made with real wine? Hmmm. Let me go get a glass and ponder how to make my next batch. Shiraz or Pinot... They do look lovely don't they?

Berry Wine Shea Butter Soap by Feto Soap (the lovely Lisa Chouinard soap guru)

Muscaberri Wine Soap (infused w/ Loofa Sponge) from Hyman Vinyards. Each Muscaberri soap comes with a wooden soap dish and natural packaging.

New Zealand White Wine Soap by Koru Naturals