Monday, June 30, 2008

Aaarg - The Price Of Oils

I went shopping tonight online for oils to soap with and found that the price seems to have increased in the past few months. I understand the price of everything is increasing, really, due to the oil and gasoline prices. Our gas prices here in South Florida are now $4.15 per gallon, and that is on the cheap side. (Can I roll my eyes now?) Everything costs more to ship so every one of my suppliers need to take that into consideration, of course. We all need to make money and I don't blame them for increasing the prices, but, sheesh. My pockets feel a bit emptier, suddenly.

I think we can all benefit if we each share what supplier you use to get the most inexpensive base oils
in the comments section of this post. The one thing I have found so heart warming about the soaping community, is that there really is a warmth and friendship amongst soap makers. I really feel like it is a community of people eager to help each other out. Maybe we can help each other out in this time of economic HELL and make the best damn bars of soap without going completely broke.

shot glass of macadamia nut oil

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Ultimate Ugliest Soap Contest Winner

Ultimate Ugly Soap (U.U.S.) contest challenged our soap maker readers to share their ugliest soaps with us as well as their pretty soap photos. I think it is important as crafters/artists to see that everyone has failures and there is no reason to give up (something I have to remind myself all the time). The winner (again!) is Heidi Bott of Soapaholics Anonymous blog. She has won one mocha espresso soap (4 ounces) one rose bubble slice (4 ounces), 2 citrus bubble bars (each weighing 3.5 ounces) and one of my short strawberry banana soaps (about 3-4 ounces) all made by me.

To share the photo love.....

Her uglies (she titled this "poop"):

Her pretties:

Thank you all so much for participating. I loved every photo you sent, but I'll tell you... not all the "Ugly Soap" snapshots were ugly. I will have more give aways, I promise. So stay tuned...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Alkali Soap - A Peek

Review to follow. Right now, Alkali's soap shop on Etsy is empty, so the review will have to wait.... Here are some close up shots I took of a yummy soap they sent me.

Swirly gorgeous!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Essential Oils = Green? Perhaps Not.

Sharon Elvin, of Platypus Dreams and I spoke on the phone recently about using essential oils and the Green Movement (can I Init. Cap. that??). Sharon makes a BIG point about the strain on the environment to produce these natural oils. Are we saving the planet by pumping all that pollution into the air to produce them or are we being GREEN by using them? Here is her blog entry in its entirety:

Are Essential Oils All That Green For The Environment?

Normally I don't talk about green and clean and all that goes with this because we are always trying to do our best and live with as little impact as possible to our environment.

I have been pondering over this and looking for research on this topic for quite some time. I haven't seen many talk about or even discuss the carbon footprint of essential oils and one would have thought so with the natural movement. Some are really trying their best but some are just jumping on the green and clean marketing bandwagon to try and get a marketing angle or sell more of their wares.

So what does it take to produce the essential plant oils we use? Lets' have a look at what I have found.

From some studies I have found the following:

Lavender Bud and Stem - 41.6l/ha

16513kg/ha crop plant including stems and flowers
41.3litres EO/ha
399kg of crop / 1 litre
399gr per mil of eo
So that is of plant matter per mil of eo doesn't sound much on the small scale of things.

Chamomile - 6.6l/ha

26400kg/ha crop plant matter yeild
6.6litres/ha essential oil yeild
4000kg plant matter / litre of eo
400gr / gram eo

Rosemary - 11.5litres/ha

Thyme - 11.8litres/ha

Yarrow - 5l/ha

So what does this all tell us? It takes quite a lot of plant matter to produce 1 litre of essential oil.

I feel we need to think about the following with our essential oils:

Land preparation - diesel to run equipment
Land and crop maintenance - diesel to run equipment
Tilling weeds - mechanical driven diesel powered equipment
Irrigation - energy source of some kind to power pumps unless gravity fed
Herbicides used - power source required to spray the crop if required
Pesticides - power source required to spray the crop if required
Harvesting of the crop - mechanical energy source, low cost labor maybe available in some countries
Cartage of the crop to the distillery - energy source to power vehicles
Energy needed to run the distillery - wood, coal, gas or electric driven
Energy required to bottle the distilled product - electric driven in most cases pumped or gravity fed into vats or drums or hand distilled.

If electricity was used as a power source how was it made now a lot of people don't think about where the power comes from when they turn on a switch. It just happens like magic.

What is driving your local power plant is it burning coal, hydro electricity, wind generated, solar powered. With a coal powered power plant think on the following and ponder for a while, where did the coal come from, was it local, how much energy was expended getting the coal out of the ground and how much was expended on washing the coal (yes they wash and crush coal), more energy.

Now with this whole energy thing and lowering the carbon foot print so to speak, well it's huge, I have only touched the tip of the iceberg on a couple of issues that I have had time to write about.

So next time when you grab for that bar of essential oil soap, treasure it.

When you switch on a light bulb think of where did the power come from? How far has it travelled to get to my light bulb, what made the power. Do I need all those lights on, switch some off. It maybe just one little crumb less of coal that is burnt and choofing off into the atmosphere.

Till next time Cheers.

Stats Ref:

Reprinted from Platypus Dreams Blog with permission

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Ultimate Ugly Soap Contest

I challenge you.

It is time to dig deep, folks. I think every once in a while we all need to rid ourselves of ugly monkeys on our backs, failures, monsters that haunt us, the stuff that we wished we never stumbled on. So, for all you soapers, send me a photo of
the ugliest soap you have EVER made (if you dared to take a picture of it) and if you have never made soap, send me the photo of the ugliest thing you've ever made : could be a sweater, an invitation, a birthday cake, a painting, your baby, whatever.

I will choose the Ultimate Ugly Soap (U.U.S.) and that person will win one mocha espresso soap (4 ounces) one rose bubble slice (4 ounces),
2 citrus bubble bars (each weighing 3.5 ounces) and one of my short strawberry banana soaps (about 3-4 ounces). I will also feature your Super U.U.S. and your blog (if you have one). A little exposure, a little humility, a little humor. Now to offset the embarrassment, may I suggest you also send me a photo of your favorite and most beautiful creation so we can patch the tremendous eye sore ;).

So! Email both the Ugly and the Beautiful and you could be the winner: jo(at)productbody(dot)com.

Contest ends on Friday June 27th and the winner will be announced on Saturday morning.

Good luck!

Mocha Espresso soap

rose bubble slice

citrus bubble bars

strawberry banana soap

My kiddos: The ugly and beautiful.

The first photo is of them on the other side of our glass slider doors blowing as hard as they could up against the glass to create the pressure to expand their cheeks. I am so proud.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Funky Town

What a great idea!  An interactive site that allows users (easy to become one btw) to post just about anything!  Events in your area, topics about this or that, post images of your work...etc.  Funky Finds, is a great source for finds from indie artists and crafters and Jessica Hood is a honey (and her little dog, tooooo...)  She has started Funky Town - great name!

She has a "... commitment to promoting independent artists, crafters & designers. Funky Town is a great tool to further promote your work and events, as well as networking with other creative professionals." 

I haven't made a post yet or figured the whole thing out, but it seems like a great idea.  I hope it doesn't turn into a bulletin board advertising because no one will come if there is no interesting content.  I urge you to write something and post it up there.

Who knows.  Maybe it can create an interesting community of indies.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Where's The Soap?

You are probably wondering where is that girl and where are my soap reviews? I have been neglecting my blogs for the last 4 days....I owe you some soap reviews, but I just don't have them. Sometimes I am really, really good at juggling, being a multi tasker wannabe, but I fail outright sometimes. This being the moment of failure. I haven't photographed the soaps that are up for review ad I must say that when I don't photograph them, my review doesn't give the soap the justice it deserves. I know how easy it is to pull the images from the soap company's website, but then I've don't really know I've actually had the bar in my possession, in my home, in my shower, on my skin and finally up against my dull razor.

So what happened to me this week. I had new programs to learn at work, and with orders and learning a new contact system on my computer, I've exhausted my brain, I think. When the babes go to sleep, I haven't been wanting to whip up a batch of soap or write or do much of anything except sit around and watch mindless TV shows, like Deadliest Catch or Hell's Kitchen. I've been more about observing the world and not so much participating in it.

I hope I get my mojo back (a friend's nickname for me...boring story).

In the A.M. I am planning on photographing the soaps and taking a cruise into the shower with them and feeling the magic of saponification!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Soaps On The Review Rope

I have a number of soaps that are on track for review.  Here are the next three:

If your soap is not mentioned here and you have sent it to me for review, please drop me a note and I will tell you the schedule for when it will get posted.  Thanks!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Saturday Soap Porn

Soap porn is a saying I got from Smelly Chick (Hi Marr!), but I just don't think any other term works for what I present to you.  I love finding new beautiful and interesting soap ideas and I want so much to share with you.  This stuff/art/craft is what I crave and get off on.  So here it is: Some Saturday soap porn for you to enjoy!

Lemon Poppy Roll by Riley Soap Company

Rain Dance by my dear soap friend, Sharon of Platypus Dreams

Chunk Soap: Butterscotch and Brown Sugar by My Willow Tree

Acqua Di Gio type Soap by Lily Bay Soap on Etsy!

Hope it was as good for you as it was for me ;)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wedding Invitation Cover

This is true.  Brad and I used this series of photographs of us on the cover of our wedding invitations.  Nothing we did for the wedding  was traditional, except for the wedding gown, really.  We were married by a woman and I was walked down the aisle by my mother.  

It was a remarkable day.  

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Biggs & Featherbelle:: Barbados, Here I Come!

This is MY kind of bar!  As some of you know, I am a sucker for tropical, citrus and clean smells.  This one had all three - not possible?  'Tis true.  Pink grapefruit and sweet orange essential oils.... Ahh Barbados.

I adore their handmade packaging.  The wrap is hand stamped with paint.  It is so colorful and cheery and perfect.  I think if someone asked me to design the perfect balance of professional and handmade, I couldn't come up with a better approach.

Here is the bar up close and personal.  No frills.  No fluffy top, no embeds, just plain and true.  I love the frills, I admit, but this bar didn't need eye candy to wow me.  

Let me try to explain the scent:  tropical, but not too sweet.  There was a teeny tiny hint of "hippie", but I can't tag it.  The ingredients include marine carotene.... maybe that's what I smell.  No matter, though because I loved the bar.  Bubble, cheery color, yummy smell, great packaging.  I also have the Beach Bar here which looks faboo, but I didn't want to keep you all waiting in suspense so I am just reviewing one bar today.

Kelly and Kasey now This exerpt was taken from their website..... "Sisters Kelly and Kasey Evick created Biggs & Featherbelle in January 2003. A magazine article inspired the pair to make 'melt and pour' glycerin soaps as Christmas presents. With backgrounds in the Fine Arts and Fashion, the two had fun creating unique recipes, packaging and clever names for each item.The gifts were a big hit.

Their family had always been proponents of alternative healing practices and consumers of natural beauty products. So, it seemed fitting to continue exploring the benefits of botanicals. The innocent investigation soon turned to obsession. The sisters quit their day jobs and devoted every hour to research and invention, striving to create the products they couldn't find on the shelves."  

They now have a successful business with wonderful products!  Please go check out their soaps.  Tell them I sent you and pick a bar, any bar!

   Thank you Kelly and Kasey!!!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Upcoming Review:: Biggs & Featherbelle

Handmade natural soap made by sisters Kelly and Kasey Evick.

Featuring their Barbados Bar.  Mmmm...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Industrial Soap Dish


Truck step used as a soap dish.  Brilliance!  I found this great blog: KK Cool Tools which featured this soap dish as on of their cool tool finds.  The dish can be purchased from AW Direct for $35.

Recessed Step - 7-3/8"W x 6-1/4"H x 4"D

Here is what they say: Also used by many as a convenient built-in soap dish! Here's what they're saying on the Net about this product: "This is by far the best-designed soap dish I've ever used. The open front allows water to drain away easily, while the diamond-plate surface secures and elevates the soap so that it dries without creating a lot of yucky soap-gunk. And of course, the aluminium doesn't rust or corrode."

Saturday, June 7, 2008

For Those Of You Who Didn't Win....

I'll have another give-away next week, so stay tuned!

Give Away Winner!

I cut up 46 numbered bits of paper shook it up and asked my son to reach into the jar to pick a winner.  He loved being in control of choosing the winner.  

He chose ELEVEN 11 ELEVEN 11.  Kelley of Primrose and Peonies won!

Kelley, please mail me your address and I'll get you all the goodies.  jo(at)productbody(dot)com.

Yay and congratulations!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Give Away Reminder

You have until midnight to post a comment in THE OTHER post in order to be considered for the soapy prize.  I will chose randomly of course.  I think this time I will do the numbers in a hat and have one of my kids pick the winner.

Here is the photo again in case you don't know what the winner gets...

Good Luck!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

A Whole Latte Inspiration

This is the latte I made this morning which is what had inspired me to make the espresso soap.  Actually it's latte #3 today.  Some days I just need it.

Espresso Soap Just Sliced

This batch set up so quickly, I barely had time to do anything.  My slamming and dropping the soap in the mold on the floor didn't clear up all the air holes as you can see in the middle photo.  I did the tongue zap test, and there's nothing, so I think it is just aesthetic.  

They still smell great!  The dry sprinkles of espresso looks like melted chocolate drips now.  They fused to the soap during the gel. 

Now I need a latte.  Excuse me while I go squeeze some espresso out of my Gaggia God.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Espresso Turkish Mocha Soap

Turkish Mocha Espresso Soap

Keeping in mind that I need espresso to wake myself up every morning (2-3 cups!), I thought I could make a morning shower delight for myself and others.  Here is my attempt.  I'll cut the bars tomorrow morning.  Hopefully, the soap comes out okay.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Soap & Fragrance Oil Give-Away

It's time again for a soap and oil give away!

Any comments from anyone IN THIS POST between today and Friday June 6th until midnight will be entered to win the loot.  I will randomly choose a comment to win these fabulous prizes:

Lote Tree Pumpkin Butter Soap (4.5 oz)
Mollycoddle soap:  Hostess creme cupcake
Product Body Labworks: Yuzu soap bar (3 oz) that's me!
Bamboosa bamboo powder & green clay soap (4 oz)

Brambleberry Vanilla Vanilla fragrance oil  (1 oz)
Brambleberry Wasabi fragrance oil (1 oz)
Oregon Trail Soaper Supply Coconut Breeze fragrance oil (2 oz) 

Good luck!

ps:  I have no idea how these fragrance oils perform in soap making, so consult the vendor's websites for information....