Friday, January 23, 2009

I Was Clearly Inspired

The Saturday Porn Fever Log Style post gave me ants in my pants to try new "topping" styles. I've always wanted to try a heap in the center of my soap loaves, but never really made enough soap or thickened the last of the soap enough before the nasty fairies came and made grainy custard-like glop before I smoothed it on.

Well, last night I tried it for the first time and it worked. Trust me, I will do a better job next time, but it all happened in a split second and it was like those contestants on Top Chef plating when they have only seconds before they have to put there utensils down.

Here's the loaf before it went under the knife.

Cut, they look like cupcakes to me. :oP Yummmmmm.

They are scented in Baby Rose from Brambleberry. So gentle and NOT overbearing at all, like some tea roses can be. Thanks Anne-Marie for having this one available!

All the cupcakes in a row

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Giving A Little Goes A Long Way

Kim of Stella Marie Soap is collecting donations for a Valentine's Day soap drive to bring to a local women's shelter in Boston, Massachusetts and she's trying to get the word out. She's awesome. Last year she donated 2 boxes of bath goodies she collected and she's doing it again.

You must have stuff around.

Kim, we need an address to post publicly, yes?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Force Curing/Hardening After The Fact (help!)

I know I write this soap blog, I make soap, I review soap and I especially admire soap. Yesssss, I almost drool. One of the things I am not, however, is a person with a vast sea of knowledge regarding soap tricks and short cuts. I have been asked a lot of advice in recent weeks from people around the world. My first words are, "Wow, I am honored you are asking, but you should really ask Anne-Marie at Teach Soap or Brambleberry. If they don't know....they'll find out for you. (Maybe too much pressure for the Brambleberrians :P, but they know soap! What can I say?)

I got an email recently:

I made a soap with butters and olive oil a few weeks ago. I have a market fair upcoming and want much to sell my wares there, but the soap is still I think a little soft like hard cheese. I know it's safe, but is there ways to speed up the hardening part? Perhaps a soap vacation in the oven to dry them out? I don't want to ruin them. They are so beautiful, but I don't think I can sell them as they are.

It would be awesome if anyone with experience speeding up the "curing" process or hardening up bars could leave their tricks for her in the comments section. If we get a lot of comments and solutions, I'll have to post them as a seperate topic! I bet there are a lot of people who might benefit from solutions if there are any...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Saturday Porn FEVER Log Style

Key Lime and Lemon Loaf

Mango Loaf

by Country Cottage Soap who sells in her Etsy shop.

The Soapy Cauldron's Wicked Wake Up Loaf

Tea rose

Blooming idiot

Grumpy Girl makes whole soap logs and sells them on her Etsy shop. (I absolutely love her soap and think she is the bees knees!)

There is just something about a loaf of soap that spins me into a dizzy tizzy. I dare all of you to bang them out and pretty them up and do a loaf dance for the new year. Send me pictures!!! I am ready to share photo shoots of loaves that you bring to the table.

I've got my napkin.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Bringing Milk + Honey To Another Level

Lissa Lee of Arcadia Aromatics (aka The Soap Store on Etsy) makes beautiful soaps. I have been admiring them for months now and I got a bar in the mail that I have been eyeing. The glorious 24 Carrot Buttermilk & Honey Bar looks just like fudge: smooth, velvety and inviting. I really wanted to feel my teeth sink into it, but I'm smarter than that more often than not.

This is what's inside: "Saponified oils of palm, coconut, rice bran, canola, fragrance (honey), organic carrot juice, buttermilk. Scent description (on her site): An amazingly pure honey scent. No floral notes, no fruity overtones, and no spices. Only sweet, pure, rich amber honey, with nothing else blended into it.

  • Scent: Tupelo Honey
  • Weight: 5.8 oz.
  • Price: $6.00 ea."
A nice hefty bar, I tellya. When I opened it up, it was just as I imagined it. That almost never happens exactly. Either my hopes are way too high and I am bummed with the soap's performance or scent, or I was blown away because I had no hopes to begin with. This one, I was looking forward to, thinking about the deep sticky-honey-and-buttermilk-in-the-hot-sun smell. Lissa used carrot juice along with buttermilk and I think it's what brings the whole thing together.

The scent: Pure heaven. Sweet without the sugar. It does smell like rich amber honey but I suppose there is a hint of milk in there. Not so much, though. I almost smell
the flowers the bees went to to collect the pollen from. A whisper of jasmine but the bar isn't florally. It's hard to describe, But I urge you to get one and smell it yourself. Then let me know what YOU smell.

The works: Magic. The instant I entered the shower that baby took off like a rocket with the bubbles and exploding lather. Hmmm, I thought. Wonder if it's drying if there are so many bubbles. Nope, it was super moisturizing. It felt great and rubbing the honey bar on my skin made me feel like I was treating my skin with the therapeutic creations from the Earth. Go get my crystals and incense because I was one with it all, man.

Loved it!! So double thumbs up go get a bar do it now rating from Joanna.

Here are some of the other goodies she makes that are also breathtaking:

Lissa, thank you for the opportunity to try your wonderful soap. What a pleasure it has been. I will certainly be back. My bar is half gone and I will need to peruse through your offerings when I'm finished with this wonderbar.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

**Update On The Mango Lassi**

Can I Drink That Mango Lassi Through My Nose, Please was a cry for help in my fragrance dilemma. One of my favorite suppliers, Brambleberry, discontinued a fragrance that I loved and I was, to say the least, distraught.

Anne-Marie of Brambleberry responded (ever so quickly) with this comment:

Joanna, Just for you, Fresh Baked Bread has gotten a reprieve for one more year. I LOVE it and think it's one of the best fragrances every invented but it just didn't sell terribly well. But, just for you, at least another year and we'll reevaluate sales in January 2010.

Mango Lassi, The 10 pound price is on the site. If you want to spearhead a buy, I can also post to my blog and the Teach Soap Forum and see if there are others that want in with you? I am 100% certain we can help move some pounds. The sales on that one were *so low* (maybe it was the name?) that we wouldn't even sell enough of it in a year to keep it from going bad before it got to you. I really liked the fragrance too ... maybe it was the name?

Woah. Not only do I think Brambleberry's products are top notch, the customer service is fantastic and I think Anne-Marie is a smart business woman and a really nice person. I promised her I'd have to plant a fat kiss on her when I meet her in person.

Love her!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Can I Drink That Mango Lassi Through My Nose, Please?

Before I do my review on the Buttermilk and Honey bar of soap... I am in a dilemma again, so it has to wait another day. It is with a supplier.

This time it is with Brambleberry, not Majestic Mountain Sage (MMS). I had originally tried a great fragrance oil from MMS, but when I went to order it, it was no longer offered. ACK! I called them in a panic because I just had to get it. They said I could buy 10 pounds of it. Woah. Ten pounds is a lot of money and so much fragrance....I really don't put out that amount of product, no matter how fancy you think I am. Do you remember a few months ago when I asked if anyone wanted to join me in ordering 10 pounds of Graham Cracker fragrance? I am in a similar situation, but this time it is with Brambleberry - but now I am in deeper because it's with THREE fragrances. I CAN NOT LIVE WITHOUT one, though: my sweet mango lassi. The three fragrances that have been discontinued are:

Mango Lassi, Fresh Baked Bread and Banana

Who didn't buy these, I ask you? What kind of peer pressure can I put on you all??

OK, I really don't want more than one pound of Banana. Honestly, I wanted to play around with it more than put it in my line. I wanted to see if it would be good in fragrance blends. The Mango Lassi, however, is taunting me from the empty bottle I have. Every few days, I sniff the empty botttle and breathe in ever so deeply and wimper quietly while I exhale, "No more Mango L-A-S-S-I-I-I-I......"

It's really so stupid that I can be such a baby.

C'mon, I am a grown woman and I whine every time I open my empty Mango Lassi bottle from Brambleberry and smell the fumes.

So we either all need to write letters to tell them to bring it back and all buy some, which will most likely not work, OR I'd love for some of you to go in on a ten pound batch of Mango Lassi with me in the next month or so. I want it by Valentine's day so I can get my Spring on.

Oh, and Anne Marie?? If you are reading this.... I just want to share: So many people have told me that the fragrances I use / blend are amazing and so unique and pure. Is it even remotely even a tiny eensy bit possible that maybe I have good taste and those three fragrances were just overlooked by some of your customers and should be tried with the masses again?

Just a shot in the dark. ;)

UPDATE: Fresh Baked Bread is still available here.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Upcoming Soap Review :: Buttermilk + Honey Bar

Arcadia Aromatics on Etsy

24 Carrot Buttermilk and Honey Handmade Soap - JUMBO BARS 6 oz. each - Made with organic carrot juice, pure buttermilk and clover honey.

Looks good? Wait for the review!