Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday Soap Dope

Blackberry Sage Soap by BL Soaps on ArtFire

I love purple and green :)

Coffee Kitchen Soap by Green Hill Soap Co. on ArtFire

It looks like Oreo cookie whipped mousse to me....yum yum yum.....

Ocean Breezes Goats Milk soap by Happy Hound on ArtFire

Mmmm, creamy...

Tangerine Lavender Soap by smileyme520 (aka Soaps N Such)

vanilla cappuccino gourmet bar by arohaorganics

Looks like dessert that I'd like to eat right now with my latte. Some sort of a multi-layered butterscotch, perhaps?

So here's the dope for this Sunday. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Smell Before You Buy? NO WAY!

"A sniffy is a cotton swab very lightly dipped in an aromatic material. It is usually enough to get to know a new aroma and have some idea of how it might blend with others. "
Supplies By Hello is offering sniffys for free!

Every customer (or potential customer) is allowed two sniffys per calendar month! So if you don't know what Geranium oil from Egypt smells like and what a sniff, then get a sniffy from Daniela. I know I will take her up on this. There are a couple I have been very interested in but am too nervous to commit to just yet.

What a great idea she had.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Man Soap Etsy Style

Or Manly Man Soap...

Manly Man Soap

by Seattle Sundries

MOUNTAIN MAN Natural Cedar Wood and Fir Balsam  Soap

Mountain Man glycerin soap by Plunk Soap

The Tax Man Soap 3 oz

The Tax Man Soap by Soap Scentsations

We love their description:

"The Tax Man Soap. Packed with Pork, Promised to Stimulate. Available only until we use it elsewhere. $$$$$$$$ He comes dressed in sleek black, wielding his money saving tips, taunting me with his refunds, child tax credits, and 1st time home buyer tax breaks. But he's crafty, sneaky in his unperfumed ways-dipping into my paycheck, passing it along to Uncle Sam who promises to stimulate only to spend it on pork. This bar is brought to you as our own little stimulus package. No hidden pork, we tell you it's there! And at a low price even your overstimulated pockets can handle it! Go ahead come clean, find the loose change rattling in your'll find you really can love the Tax Man! And as an added bonus, for US buyers ONLY....Free Shipping on this bar only. Cause we care!"

Tickles my funny bone, that tax man. :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Concord Soap Company

Red Clover Tea.

Just what the doctor ordered. Red Clover Tea Soap from The Concord Soap Company.

I have been trying to drink herbal tea to help me replace my daily espresso habit - - (eventually replace... hey, no rushing!). I've been experimenting with all sorts of different herbal teas, so my head is swirling with the smell of teas, and what arrives on my doorstep, but a tea soap. Perfect timing.

A nice creamy, simple bar in an organza bag with the Concord Soap logo, which I love. Out of the bag, the soap smelled tart and sweet, a lot like herbal tea. The shower experience was a delight especially when I started lathering up and the bubbles began multiplying like rabbits! I spent quite a long time in the shower with this bar, really enjoying the tea bar. The scent mellowed in the shower. In fact, the sweetness faded just a touch as I lathered and I liked it even more as I bathed myself.

Melissa, Concord Soap Company's soap maker is lovely, her soap is lovely and I'd bet having used this soap, that her other soaps are delish as well. I'll be ordering some more soon. I want to try the Spellbound next ;)


Thank you, Melissa!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

S.O.S. :: Sumatran Orangutan Society

photo credit - Sumatran Orangutan Society

With fewer than 7,000 surviving in the wild, it is predicted that the Sumatran orangutan will be the first Great Ape species to become extinct if current trends continue. The Sumatran Orangutan Society works with local communities living alongside orangutan habitat, helping them work towards a more sustainable future for their forests.

In my last post, Orangutans + Why You Should Use Sustainable Palm Oil, I wrote about how important it is that we understand, as soap makers, that palm oil comes from places that are killing and wiping out orangutans in the rain forests of Sumatra and Borneo in order to harvest it.

It is possible to harvest it without doing this and by purchasing sustainably harvested palm oil from sellers who are members of the the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). I go on in detail in my previous post so feel free to read it and pass on the information.

Daniela Maldonado, owner of Hello Bath + Body and Supplies by Hello (also my fabulous sponsor), suggested I also direct you to the Sumatran Orangutan Society (S.O.S.). Daniela...stroke of genius. I visited the website and I was blown away by how much there was to learn and how many things I could do to help!

For example, you can become a member, purchase stuffed animals, T-shirts and other gift shop items, make a donation, and purchase tickets for Orangaid comedy relief through TicketMaster. But what I thought was interesting, and totally free, was is a search engine that raises money for charity every time you perform a web search. Simply bookmark as your preferred search engine, nominate the S.O.S. as your favorite charity, and every time you search the internet, S.O.S.will receive a donation!

Oh, there's a lot more that I didn't know about that I learned about on their site, like illegal Orangutan trading in Indonesia. You could
click here to download a petition asking the Indonesian government to enforce the existing laws that protect orangutans, and put a stop to the illegal trade of protected species.

They have a plethora of ideas on how to help with lists of links, suggestions, advice on fund raising events, campaigns and ideas.

" Contact us if you would like to discuss your fund raising ideas - we can offer support in the form of inspiration, information materials, collecting tins, helping you obtain permits for city-centre collections, and even the loan of our orangutan costume!"
So if you'd like to get informed about their missions and progress, go peruse their website and settle in.

With fewer than 7,000 surviving in the wild, it is predicted that the Sumatran orangutan will be the first Great Ape species to become extinct if current trends continue. The Sumatran Orangutan Society works with local communities living alongside orangutan habitat, helping them work towards a more sustainable future for their forests.

p.s.: Run your mouse through the leaves on the top of their website. I just love that!

Please link back to this posting if you have a blog about soap, so we can educate and end the destruction of more animals. Thank you.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Orangutans + Why You Should Use Sustainable Palm Oil

There is a lot of talk about using and finding sustainable palm oil. At first, I wasn't really sure why. You may not know either so I'll just touch on some of what people are going on about that you may or may not be aware of.

I quote from this article: "Orangutans and palm oil: What's the connection?"

The forests of Borneo and Sumatra are the only two places on Earth where these gentle, intelligent creatures live. The cultivation of palm oil over the last decade has directly led to the slaughter of thousands of individuals as the industry has expanded into previously undisturbed areas of old-growth rain forest. The UNEP estimates that an area of Indonesian rain forest the size of six football fields is cut down every minute of every day. The palm oil and timber industries are guilty of truly horrific ecological atrocities, one of which is the systematic genocide of orangutans. When the forest is cleared, adult orangutans are generally shot on sight. In the absence of bullets they are beaten, burned, tortured, mutilated and often eaten as bush meat.

If this is all true, I am sick.

After I read this, I started making soaps without palm, and honestly, the soaps just weren't as nice. I began my search for sustainable palm because I knew it was out there, but honestly, it wasn't easy to find!

I first went to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), which is the International organization of producers, distributors and others that promote the growth and use of sustainable palm oil. I poked around, and it was very confusing to actually find a supplier. If anyone from there reads this.... Make it REALLY easy to find a palm oil supplier so this change occurs faster!

I was in touch with Mike Lawson of Soaper's Choice/Columbus Foods (fantastic company, fantastic guy!), and their organic palm oil is sustainably harvested. Mike conveyed this to me:

"Regarding your question of sustainable palm production, our Organic palm is from South America, grown in a mixed species environment with legume under story to provide nitrogen specific plants to host, and feed beneficial insects. Residue from the oil pressings is also returned to the groves to provide nutrients. The farm is in a region of the Amazon that was cleared by previous owners 30-40 years ago, and the reestablishment of a forest crop has brought back many species of birds and other plants and animals. While not as diverse as native Rain forest, it is a vast improvement over grasslands. All our conventional Palm suppliers are members of RSPO as well.

We are conscious of where we purchase our oils, and will continue to seek conscientious growers, and producers."

Mike assured me that the organic palm had certification of its sustainability in addition to its membership with RSPO.

So instead of eliminating palm from your recipes, just change your buying habit. If we all make the change, maybe WE can make the difference.

Please link back to this posting if you have a blog about soap, so we can educate and end the destruction of more animals. Thank you.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sahara Moon

I tried what a lot of soap makers have been doing for a long time, which is throwing soap balls into raw soap. I think it's a neat effect when bthe soap is cut, but my balls should have been more hydrated--looks a bit "cracky" (that does NOT sound G rated, keep your mind out of the gutter!). So my plan with this soap was to use matcha green tea to color the layers on top, thinking I'd get a gorgeous matcha green tea color, but I got some serious browns. The scent was a combination of tea scents- a tea blend with spices.

Of course when I cut it, I thought of the desert at night and when I cut it and got two moons, I thought of Star Wars or some other science fiction book that had many moons orbiting the Earth.

Loving the swirls and color combos, even though it came out totally NOT the way I had intended it to. Unfortunately they are square which makes it hard to wash with. Ideally one bar is two, because you can cut it in half, shown in the soap dish below.

I have to get more molds, folks.

Sahara Moon


Upcoming soap review: Concord Soap Company

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Soap Shy

I have been getting a lot of I'm scared to send you soaps comments from soapers on Twitter. Why? Am I scary? I don't write bad reviews, do I? If I don't like a soap, I won't write the review. I hate to bad mouth anyone who owns their own business. You're a soap professional. Oh yeah, I use soap everyday, that makes me a pro. Hmm. Really folks, I am not scary. If you give your soap away or if you sell it, then you are ready for a review. You know you are probably more critical about your work than anyone else. You are your best critic. I know that I am! If a formulation isn't quite right, I won't let it leave. I'd have to do it over because I'd think to myself: Would I want that?

If you were making a sweater for someone and there is a big snaggy loop in the front when you are all done, are you going to give it to the person before you fix it? No.

So I am just saying, don't be scared of me. I don't bite...very often... and the economy is rough. Reviews and press can be hard to get, and if I can help anyone get recognition, then let me help. We could all use a lift!

Just remember, no lavender, no pacthouli, no sandalwood... ;) If you send those, I'll have to include them in a give-away. Hmm, not a bad idea with the ones I've already received.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Shout Out To My Sponsors

If you haven't noticed, I have opened up advertising on this blog due to the economy. (Pssst! To the right) I figure it's a win win situation. Some of you may want business exposure to all of you amazing readers (this is a really special group of folks!) and I could use a little extra pocket change myself.

This month, Supplies By Hello is our Top Sponsor. Daniela Maldonado owns Supplies, Hello Bath & Body Co. and has a blog where she talks about her great looking soaps. I ask you to take a moment to check out our sponsor's links to see if there is something they offer that you might be interested in.

Here is a picture of her gorgeous soaps that I just pulled off of her blog. Simply stunning.

Daniela is very nice and I am eager to try her soap
and her oils!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dirty Sanchez's Pedicure

I stumbled upon Dirty Sanchez about a year ago and was impressed with her soaps then and I'm still impressed, although I have yet to try them. I think it's time for me to place an order today. I love this bar. It is rustic, balanced, beautiful and is the perfect soap, really. I mean, when I'm in the shower, I like to softly soap up most of my body, but then my feet, my lower legs and my arms all need a rough scrub.

Doesn't it look fantastic?? I just looked at it again and it kind of looks like pressed brown sugar with crushed almonds and butter. Okay, now I really need it. ;)

pedicure :: by Dirty Sanchez

Description on Etsy copied verbatim (LOVE it!):

imagine thunderdome here... but instead of two men entering and one man leaving, it’s your nasty-ass jacked-up feet versus my totally rad pedicure bar. the opponents face off... the battle rages... the crowd draws a collective gasp... who wins? everyone! because feet are gross, and we all owe it to each other to keep our own as less-gross as possible. to that end, i offer you this double-layered pedicure soap. one half is a super-scratchy (dude, don’t wash your face with this, okay? seriously, the thunderdome thing was just a metaphor, and nobody really wants to see your gashed-up facemeat at the breakfast table) mix of sea salt, apricot seed scrub, and pumice; the other half is a smooth, creamy blend of cocoa butter and other emollient oils. it’s scented throughout with eucalyptus, tea tree, and peppermint, for the full denastifying at-home spa experience. and after enjoying the effects of your new soap, do feel free to put on a thick pair of socks and closed-toed shoes, and hide your shame from the world.


each bar is hand-cut using my cheap yet superlatively, painfully sharp dollar store butcher knife. bars are all approximately 6 ounces, but please allow for slight variations.


ingredients: coconut oil, distilled water, sodium hydroxide, sea salt, apricot kernel oil, canola oil, palm oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, castor oil, essential oils, fragrance, pumice powder, apricot seed powder, beeswax.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Creamy White Smooth Operator

Today I was feeling in a creamy white mood and I looked into my soap cabinet and realized that most of the soaps curing in there were dark brown. Time to move to different scents that don't alter my soap color so much. Joanna, move away from vanillas, mangoes, almond, cookies, baked bread... Sounds like the inside of my cupboard. ;) So I had to find a few creamy whites that made me feel happy and I wanted to share.

Creamy Almond Shea Butter Soap :: Vistah Soap in Tucson, Arizona

Neroli Lemon :: Kelle's Kitchen in Phoenix, Arizona

Himalayan Pink . salt bar . goats milk soap :: Dancing Mooney in Salem, Oregon

Alabaster Sea Salt Bar :: Magic Hands in San Diego, California

More to come....

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Keeping A Journal For Soapmaking

I know better and yet, I'm compulsive and think I have a great memory, IN THE MOMENT. But I don't. I have the worst memory of all about certain things. One of the things I think I am really swell at is remembering what formula I used for which batch of soap instead of just jotting it down. You know, just taking one measly moment to mark a scent and color down.

You should know I don't make one or two basic recipes like a lot of people who make soap. That would make things soooo much easier. I have about twenty standards that I use because I like to play around with new formulas all the time. I enjoy seeing what new formulas do, how they perform and my customers especially like to see what ingredients I'm going to try next. Keeps things interesting for everyone. ;)

I have a book that holds my soap recipes that I've printed out, but I don't have a composition book explaining what scents I've blended, when I've added the goat's milk or shea butter, how much ultramarine oxide I added to the second layer of soap....etc. The DETAILS. If I get all of those nitty gritty details and I want to recreate the soap, I can instead of guessing.

I'm sure I am the last soaper on Earth who has" snapped to"and decided this is critical and it can't wait any longer. It's not that I've just thought about this. It's that I just never got to it.