Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Platypus Dreams.

Sharon, soap extraordinaire of Platypus Dreams sent me an email with some background information on herself. Thought I'd share:

......I love feed back and that is the only way that I can improve and keep getting better and better, without a challenge why bother. I challenge myself daily, that's what's so exciting, my customers feel the passion and love in the soap and they tell me that it's just different there is an energy about it.

I noticed that one person asked how long I had been soaping close on 4 years solid without a break as I started then as a full time soaper after a bit of mucking around which I do not count, I still have some of the very first batches. These soaps have proven to be invaluable with my research on what does what, especially in a humid environment and also studies on DOS and rancidity of the soap over time and how it performs in different water types. How long will a bar of soap last, well I believe that handmade soap with the right formulation and kept in the right conditions it will still be good in 10years or more. But the first time that I ever made soap was back in 1988 and it wasn't very good at all, in actual fact I threw it in the bin. I made some absolutely fabulous foot powder from a book that I had back then as well, that's another story all by it's self. But I have always dabbled in fragrance and essential oils even way back then when it wasn't that well known. I used to visit the first Perfect Potion shop in Brisbane around 1988 when it first opened as I worked 2 blocks away, what a treasure it was and I spent quite a sum of money on many many different EO's.

Just went and had a look at the funky chic one, arh yes idea was dreamt up around the time of the Melbourne Cup years ago (famous raceday for horse racing). I'm not into horse racing but the ladies get all dolled up and it's a major even across Australia, they work on outfits all year for this one especially the hats and oh so colorful. It was inspired by Ladies Hats on Raceday! It is a sod to make, rolling all the rolls and placing them in the bars in just the right position is not easy. The harder the soap is to make the more unique it becomes as others find it hard to copy and produce in volume. lol. Gotta find that edge somehow.... Pouring at the right time is another big issue (layers morphing when running through gel, colors separating within a layer etc) and also getting the colors right time and time again is not an easy feat.

Making a fancy soap is easy peasy but keeping the consistency batch to batch that the retailers require ie color matching their last order etc which is still left on the shelf is a major challenge, one that I love.

Give me an idea, any idea and if it's possible I will make it.

Anyway better move, catch you later.

Sharon Elvin
Platypus Dreams

Monday, January 28, 2008

Birch Bark In Nova Scotia

Sherrie of Birch Bark has contacted me to review her soaps. I have not yet tried them, but I just love her photography. The soap in hands with beautiful colored sweaters. Looks cold, though. Brrr.

Chocolate Peppermint

Peppermint Poppyseed

Simple Simon, unscented

Oatmeal, Milk and Honey bath bar

Creamy Lavender

Platypus Dreams - Soap #7 - Lavender Rose Cake Slice

Lavender Rose Gourmet Cake Slice

Sharon, of Platypus Dreams really outdid herself on this one.  Look at that beauty!  I am all about using pretty things, because the point of beauty is to indulge and partake in it.  I hate it when I give someone candles or soap or a scrub and they just put it in a guest bathroom or powder room and never use it.  Or never light the candles which end up being the catcher for dust particles.

Well, this one was hard for me.  I wasn't sure how to start bathing with it so I removed the rosebuds which were set in to the cake slice ever so perfectly.  Then I was left with the slice as large as my entire hand and tried rubbing the thick layer of lavender buds on me.  I saw hundreds of buds go down my drain, so I immediately stopped the exfoliating test because I was scared to clog my drain...but it did feel great on my legs (my "ever so needy of exfoliation" legs).  The scent was soft and floral, with a touch of cream.  I loved this bar (um..slice), but wasn't sure how to use it.  Maybe this one would have been better on display, because I miss the beauty it gave me everyday on my windowsill as I washed dishes.  There isn't that much that gives me delight as I scrub pot and pans.  Trust me.

Sharon, your soaps are absolutely magnificent and I believe that many readers will become inspired by your talent.  Not only are your bars and slices stunning to look at, with colors so vibrant, but the soap is so well made, had copious foaming bubbles and left me feeling clean but not dried out in any way.  It was a real joy testing every one of your soaps and I will continue using them until the very last nub dissolves.

Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.

Please leave comments for Sharon if you'd like to share.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Tagged By Playing With Soap


Steph of Playing With Soap blog tagged me. She makes soap in her spare time, all of which look amazing, but she refuses to sell them on Etsy for all to buy...she does it for fun only. I am still begging her to send me some soap. The coconut cream pie soap circles look good enough to eat.

The rules are:

Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.

Share five random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog.

Share the five top places on your "want to see or want to see again" list.

Tag a minimum of five random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.

Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment in their blog.

I was tagged on my other blog back in November so I won't repeat the list of 7 juicy facts about myself again. I'm sure I can think of some new ones to list.

The five random and/or weird facts about myself:

1. I like board games, group games, card games and game shows, especially Jeopardy!

2. I always think about making soap, bubble bars, bath cupcakes, bath bon bons, and bath bombs but rarely have time to try making them.

3. I love my sleeping pants. I have an array of adorable comfy ones, especially my green cow pants.

4. I secretly long for an oversized (5 bedroom) old Victorian house with a huge yard or property. I love large kitchens, windows, hallways, rooms, wrap around porches and attics. That has always been a dream of mine.

5. I've become scared of heights in my 30s.

The next list is:
Five places I would like to see or want to see again:

1. I want to go back to my honeymoon spot.... Cove Castles in Anguilla. The picture below this one is the beach house I stayed in which was on the very end of the island. It looks really modern, but the inside was terra cotta tile throughout and beautiful wicker furniture with comfy pillows. We went in May (hurricane season for them) and the whole place was deserted. Not one person in any of the houses. I think there were 8 or 10 house total. It was like we were on a deserted island, except with breakfast arriving magically in the morning on our back veranda and magically disappearing once we took showers. Heaven.

2. I'd love to see the West: plains, deserts, mountains, but especially Wyoming and the Summer. As you may know, I am not a fan of the freezing weather, so these places don't appeal to me in the Winter.

3. Europe. I have been to London and western England, but I want to see all of the European countries.

4. Japan. I love the culture, fashion and food.

5. San Diego. The other place in this country that appeals to my weather desires and the ocean.

So this is the end for me, for now.

I am now tagging 5 other people to participate in the TAGGING.

They are:

Alice of Finslippy
Gretchen of Beauty Hatchery
Christina of Bon Bons In The Bath
Jen of Products Of The Day
Sarah of Beauty Banter

Tag, you're it!!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Platypus Dreams -Soap #6 - Luv Spell Cupcake Soap

Sugar Baby-Luv Spell Designer Soap

"A fragranced luxuriously creamy soap with goat's milk.  It smells similar to the popular Victoria Secret's fragrance Love Spell."  The smell was creamy, fresh, clean and sweet all at once.  Unfortunately, it was the smallest of the soaps Sharon of Platypus Dreams sent me.  (Boo hoo.)  It was smaller than the size of a Reeses Peanut Butter cup except taller and fatter.

Now, this little gem was loved by all in the house.  It first lived at our kitchen sink because we ran out of Crush On You (how did that happen??),  Then it ended up in the powder room, then after a week of that, I decided I needed to try it in the shower as I try all the soaps I review.  I have to say that it was really cute and a perfect powder room soap.  It helped the room smell clean.  I don't know if it was because the soap was so little by the time it joined me in the shower, but it wasn't as sudsy as the others.  It was creamier and smooth and quite a perfect little cupcake for my family.  I think this one was loved by all and now it is gone....sniff...

Good thing they sell a whole bar!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Chocolate Kiss Soap

A great quick and easy M+P soap for the holidays.

This is reprinted from Soap Crafters:

How to Make a Chocolate Kiss Soap

Chocolate Kiss Soap Recipe

An awesome way to indulge in chocolate without any of the calories or guilt 

You will need:

- Either a Tupperware chocolate kiss-shaped funnel 
(widely available on E-bay)

a plastic Hershey's Kiss filled with little Hershey's Kisses 
(available in the grocery store)

opaque melt and pour soap base

- cocoa powder
coconut oil
Soap Crafter's Chocolate fragrance
cocoa butter
- Really cheap aluminum foil, foil candy wrappers or silver foil wrap 
(the last 2 are available at restaurant supply stores) 
How to:
First, prepare your mold:
~If you are using the funnel for your mold, close up the small end with some caulking, duct tape or I have found that a piece of bubble gum works really well.(I soak it in water to soften it up and then apply to the opening and let it dry)
~ If you are using the plastic Hershey's kiss, drill a 1/2 inch hole in the bottom (wide part) of the plastic kiss. 
Second, prepare your soap:
~if you are using the funnel, you'll need to melt about 8oz of soap
~if you are using the plastic kiss, you'll need to melt about 6 oz of soap
Chunk up the soap and put it into a 2 cup glass measuring cup. Add about 1 tsp of cocoa butter (this will melt while your soap melts) 
Third, prepare your color:
Melt 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in the microwave. To that, stir in 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder.
Next, finish your soap.
Stir in cocoa powder/oil mixture and 3/4tsp of chocolate fragrance into your soap base. Set the funnel or plastic mold into a cup to secure it. Pour your soap into the mold and let it set up. For easy removal, put the mold in the freezer for 1 hour after the soap has set up. 
Wrap in foil.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Platypus Dreams - Day 5 - Funky Chic

Funky Chic by Platypus Dreams.... "Let's have some sophisticated fun"

This soap has 4 distinct layers of color and three different colored rolls inserted in the top that are visually compelling and unique.  From the bottom:  dark purple, a creamy white, blue and hot pink with soap "tape" rolls and glitter on top.  The rolled soap pillars on top remind me of Bubble Tape bubble gum (mmmm).  

Another stunning looking bar that was hard to take with me in the shower.  I guess being a soap reviewer, I must put all that saving business for other things.  Anyway, it helps me live my motto of:  What's the point in having it if you don't allow yourself to enjoy it? (Is that a motto?)

The Funky Chic is another wonderful sudsy bar that froths up so easily in the shower and cleans to the bone with no film or oily slick left behind.  The scent is clean and super fresh!  According to the website it is described as "...a wonderful European complex fragrance, exotic floral with warm notes of Jasmine, Rose Wood, Musk and Cedarwood."  Yes, but in layman's terms, it smells slightly floral with sweet and fresh notes that will make you feel c-l-e-a-n.

Wonderfully creamy and the smell is dynamite!  The only issue I had (if you can call it an issue) was that the pillars collected water like little pools.  Easy enough to tilt it and make sure it dries properly.  I hope this one lasts a long time in my shower.  I think I may have to hide this one just for myself.  ;)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Platypus Dreams - Day 4 - Spiced Jasmine

My mother is reviewing one of the Platypus Dreams soap, SPICED JASMINE.  She was so excited when I asked her to write a review.... and I think she really liked the soap.  :)

To begin with, it was so simply beautiful that I hated taking it into the shower.  It has a bumpy ridge on top that I thought would be uncomfortable, but I found out how to use it so that it didn't scratch in the beginning.  First, I lathered up the slab onto my hands, then spread the lather over me.  It generously covered me, was silky, smelled incredible and rinsed off sparkly clean.  The scent that was lasting on my skin was fresh.  There is a slight hint of something, kind of a masculine, not flowery.  This would definitely be a non gendered bar of soap.  However, I can't see a guy being too comfortable reaching for the soap in the store because it is so "pretty".  A gal would have to buy it for him as a gift.  Maybe a  more masculine look could be done for The Man  of the House.
The soap looks like sand art, with crystals that shine on top.  But as pretty as it is, it surpassed all of my shower requirements (and I am a stickler about my soaps).  It lathers up, it spreads smoothly, gently, and it leaves my skin creamy.  It feels like I have applied a very light cream to my legs and arms.  

Love this soap.  Bring it on.  Platypus Dreams rocks.  Hello to Australia.  Mom

Friday, January 18, 2008

Platypus Dreams - Day 3 - Raspberry Turkish Delight

Platypus Dreams Raspberry Turkish Delight Gourmet Cake

Does soap get any more gorgeous than this?  It  was so nice to look at, that it felt a shame to use it as soap.  I thought about buying a glass cake stand with glass dome to keep it on display, but I have a duty and let me tell you!  It was a heavenly bathing experience.  The slice of fat cake was a bit unruly in the shower because of its size and shape, but the luscious raspberry chocolate scent and bubbly action made it all worth the effort.  

This is by far the most beautiful slice of soap I have ever seen.  Leave a comment here for Sharon.  Tell her what YOU think!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Platypus Dreams - Day Two - Kudzu Blossom Review

Day Two:  Platypus Dreams - Kudzu Blossom

So unique and adorable!  It looks as if small colorful pillars of already made soap were inserted into the top before the "cure".  It creates a nice visual as a modern version of a flower, or, to me, a former NYC girl: a miniature skyline.

Today and yesterday, I used Kudzu Blossom.  I couldn't capture the familiar scent that came from the bar.  I sniffed, I reeeeealllllly sniffed.  Breathing.....  On the website Kudzu is described like this:  An uplifting and refreshing fragrance with a fruity combination of strawberries and grapes with undertones of jasmine and rose petals.  I can see that....but the second shower became even more of a sniffing extravaganza with my confused nose.  I could not figure it out for the life of me.  What did it remind me of?  

When it hit me, it didn't make any sense because it DID smell like strawberries and grape and jasmine and roses.  But the familiar scent that haunted me was that of the infamous Tootsie Roll lollipop.  The grape and orange and Tootsie all mixed together, but it was far more sophisticated than just lollipop smell.  Far more.  It had a subtlety of florals without being overwhelming.  It was sweet and floral all at once.  

The suds were almost as fantastic as the first bar:  Hawaiian Coconut.  Kudzu Blossom had such a soft, smooth feel with zero exfoliation. The slippery, smooth bar and I had a great walk in the shower with only a hint of Tootsie dancing in my head.  Have I eaten any sweets in the last two days?  Clearly I am not getting my daily dose.

Day Two.  I am so pleased.

Fresh Green Grass Soap

Shelley Jones of Nahia Creations was nice enough to send a photo of her Fresh Grass soap that won her the Soap Supply Give-Away.  Congratulations, Shelley!!  Your goodies will go out today.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Soap Supply Give-Away Winner

The winner for the most unusual soap made or tried is: Nahia Creations who shared that she/he used fresh green grass in a batch of soap!  I bet that was strange and wonderful all at the same time.  Nahia Creations, please let me know what your address is so I can send you your winnings.  Email me: jo(at)productbody(dot)com.

Thank you all for participating.   Hopefully you will try odd but interesting concoctions and continue to share with all of us.  There will be another contest with give-aways very soon.  Stay tuned.....

Platypus Dreams - Day One - Hawaiian Coconut

Hawaiian Coconut by Platypus dreams.  (yum yum yum)

As I mentioned in the last two posts about Platypus Dreams, Sharon Elvin sent me a box of pure handmade perfection disguised as bars of soap.  She definitely wowed me.  They are the most beautiful bars of soap I have ever seen in my whole life and even prettier than any I could have made up.

Today, I would lke to tell you about this tropical one.  You can see glittery sparkles throughout and the top is sprinkled with flaky bits of coconut.  It smelled like a hint of coconut with a touch of almond.  I was hoping (as I always do) that it would smell just like a cracked open coconut, but sadly, it did not.  It did, however, still smell delicious and tropical and divine, but it was the experience that completely sold me.

So the outside is nice, oh yeah, the smell is nice, oh yeah, but I entered the shower and began to spin the soap around in my wet hands, and KAPOW!  Suds appeared and they just kept coming!  Bubbles and bubbles with yummy wafts of tropical smell surrounded my head.  I wash my whole body standing just barely out of the water and looked down to see my body all white and fluffy with suds all about.  It is certainly the sudsiest bar I have yet to try so far.

So as I was dreaming in my cartoon heaven with clouds all around me, I decided to try the shaving test.  My legs don't like soap that dries my skin, I am terrible with a razor and the only hope I have is to pray I don't rip off layers of skin as I shave.  The Hawaiian Coconut bar worked like a charm with the bubbles assisting me at every turn, stroke and pull.  Either I was really "ON" while shaving (not likely) or the bar actually eased the chore of shaving my legs.  Either way (I think the latter is more accurate), shaving was easy for me this morning.

I was finally done, and having used all the hot water in my house, I washed off the mounds of suds and dried off. Very nice indeed;  A true slice of heaven in the shower, I'll say!  Now look at the pictures and imagine . . .

Monday, January 14, 2008

Week Of Platypus Dreams

All this week I will be featuring soaps that Sharon of Platypus Dreams (in Australia!) sent me. I will try to review one of her soaps each day for a week.  The box of goodies she sent with loads of soap made me feel like a queen.  Absolutely gorgeous!!  I will attempt to give you my detailed experience with 7 bars this week.  You can see the photo of the open box of soap she sent me here.

She is not only a talented soap maker, but her artistic touches are really stunning.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Soap Supply Give-Away

I have some soap supplies to give away.  Included:

-Riceflower & Shea Fragrance oil (1 oz.) - Brambleberry
-Rain Cybilla Fragrance oil (1 oz.) - Brambleberry
-Vanilla Cream Fragrance oil (1 oz.) - Majestic Mountain Sage
-Toasted Coconut Fragrance oil (1 oz.)- Majestic Mountain Sage
- Gardenia Fragrance Oil (5mL) - Majestic Mountain Sage
-Cotton Candy Fragrance Oil  (5 mL) - Majestic Mountain Sage 
- Vanilla Creme Fragrance oil (2 oz.) - Oregon Trail Soapers supply
- Ginger Spice Fragrance oil (2 oz.) - Oregon Trail Soapers supply
-  Wildcrafted Kola Nut Powder (1 oz.) - Texas Natural Supply
- "Love" mould (for making 3-4 oz bar?) - (can't remember where I got this....brambleberry?)

To get this batch of oils, kola nut powder and soap mold, I need comments on: 

"What was the most unusual/unique soap you ever used?"  

It could be your own or others.  It could be  good or bad.  Unique doesn't always mean better.  
So ....Comment away!  

I will draw and announce the winner on Tuesday, January 15th.  Good luck!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

"Love Sink"

A short animation about the struggle of two bars of soap and their desire to be together.
By Bryan Wilkat

Thank you Bryan.  That was very sweet of you to send it to 
me to share!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Inspiration + Goals For Indie Businesses

Donna Maria Coles Johnson, Founder of the Indie Beauty Network wrote about business goals and easy steps for how to achieve them as an independent business owner. She included this video on her blog to go with her entry. If you are starting a business with your soaps or making jewelry or candles....or whatever, I highly recommend joining the Indie Beauty Network. I am a member and have been for two years and it has been quite a resource for me.

Thank you, Donna Maria, for making yourself so available to us all no matter how busy you are!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Under The Willow - Mud Puddle Girl

Carrie~Gigi of Under The Willow created the Mud Puddle Girl line of products for girls "who want to make a splash", young or old.  She makes adorable aprons, "billows",  T-shirts, lip balms, body wash and handmade soap.

She began reading my blog and leaving comments.  After realizing she made her own soaps, I asked her if I could review any soap for her and within days, Carrie had sent me two lovely bars of soap, 2 lip balms, and for my 10 year old daughter, Nina, Carrie sent a "Mud Puddle" T-shirt and Pumpkin Mud Cookie Aloe Body Wash with sparkles!  Everything was so beautifully put together and such a treat to touch and smell.

When my ten year old girl received this gift from her, you can imagine her delight.  She instantly ran to the computer to type a thank you note that took over an hour to prepare.  Now, if Nina reads the comments on my blog, she'll see Carrie~Gigi's name occasionally and squeals, "It's Carrie~Gigi, Mom!  I like her."

The sparkly body wash smells really yummy.  It's called Pumpkin Mud Cookie, and it smells like graham crackers with a hint of pumpkin.  So delicious.  She sent it with a cute little nylon pouf so that a little goes a very long and sudsy way.  The sparkles are suspended in the wash and is vaguely reminiscent of glitter globes.

This is the T-shirt and lip balm in mint chocolate puddle....mmm

The soap bar that made my day yesterday was the Richly Almond bar (shown above) and it was divine.  Smooth, sudsy, faintly almond with a hint of cherry. There is no "cherry" listed in the scent description but I m sure there is a touch of it in there....Carrie, am I crazy?

Shaving with the soap was pure pleasure.  It was so nice with the smooth lather, that it made shaving a breeze.  Super slippy, conditioning and my skin felt soft and clean, unlike some bars that leave me feeling dry and tight.

I want to thank Carrie~Gigi for her generosity and kindness and for sending my daughter the nicest response letter.  She has granddaughters and they are very lucky to have her unconditional love, creativity and soapy goodies.

Thank you, Carrie~Gigi!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008