Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Ocean Titanic

Made it yesterday...
Steel Cut Oats for "sand" (maybe I should have gone for regular oats, copper mica, blue mica, purple soap balls, then previous batches shredded and made into sea plants.)

Ocean Titanic
Scent: Beach House

by me at Product Body

Amber Soap Porn

Here are some Etsy finds: soap scented with amber. I am digging the amber scents these days. The mystery, the sultry lure, the history... there are some new soap makers featured here that I have not seen yet.

Eden by vervainsavon
scented with Essential oils of Amber, Patchouli, and Jasmine.
Also included resins of amber, patchouli, rose and vetiver.

Cracked Amber soap by bedickens
Scent: combination of rustic cracked amber, satiny white lavender and deep earthy sage.

Crystal Skull Soaps, 12 heads by Fig Leaf Soap
Scented with an ancient, mysterious black amber fragrance

Amber soap by Hartley
fragrance: amber

Smoked Balsam Soap with shea butter by naiad
Features pine green and billowing white peaks, fresh pine scent with notes of
campfire smoke, patchouli and amber!

Mayan Gold soap - exotic golden cocoa butter by swan mountain soaps
Fragrance is a mix of rare woods, spices and amber including several essential oils such as Sandalwood, Patchouli, Clary Sage, Vetiver, Mandarin, Lemon, Grapefruit, and Neroli.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Uphill, Barefoot ... Both Ways

{this was an email sent to me, which I edited a little to add my own personal touches to and being that I fit into to the OVER 30 crowd, reluctantly and so obviously , I lay it out....}

When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were. When they were growing up; what with walking 25 miles to school every morning....

Uphill... barefoot... BOTH ways….Yadda, yadda, yadda

And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way in hell I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on my kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it.

But now that I'm over the ripe old age of thirty, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today.

You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a Utopia!

I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have The Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the damn library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalogue.

There was no email. We had to actually write somebody a letter with a pen... Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox and it would take, like, a week to get there.

Child Protective Services didn't care if our parents beat us.

There were no MP3' s or Napsters! If you wanted to steal music, you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio and the DJ would usually talk over the beginning of the song. There were no CD players. We had tape decks in our car.

My grandpa had an 8-track. Oh yeah. Did you even ever see one of those? In A CAR?

We didn't have crap like Call Waiting. If you were on the phone and somebody else called they got a busy signal.

And we didn't have Caller ID. When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was. It could be your school, your mom, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, a collections agent, you just didn't know. You had to pick it up and take your chances.

We didn't have any fancy Playstation video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics. We had PONG. Pong rocked. Of course nowadays, if you put Pong on the tv, kids would look at you and be like, "what is this lame game?"

Then came Atari with games like Space Invaders and Asteroids. Your guy was a little square. There were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen. The game just kept getting faster and faster until you died!

You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on TV. You were screwed when it came to channel surfing! You had to get off your ass and walk over to the TV to change the channel. NO REMOTES. A lot of TVs were still black and white. At least in my house.

There was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning. Do you hear what I'm saying!?! We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons, you spoiled little rat-bastards!

And we didn't have microwaves, if we wanted to heat something up we had to use the stove.

You kids today have got it too easy. You're spoiled. You guys wouldn't have lasted five minutes back in 1980 or before!

What do YOU remember??

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Coconut Challenge Winners!

The Winner is..... drum roll, please

Amber from Amber's Ambry!!

coconutty goodness hot process soap

Amber's soap was the clear winner. Even though her soap's coconut had a slight lemongrass hint to it, it smelled the most like coconut to me. In fact, it was so yummy, I almost keeled over when I cracked that baby's paper wrapper back! She sprinkled some real coconut on the top, which added some visual appeal, but don't think the eye candy stole me away. It was the smell that won me over. Also, if you take a closer look, you can see the sections of darkness here and there throughout the bar. It almost looks as if the bar was toasted a bit. Overall, the bar is a winner and I am ready to go take a shower with it.

As the winner, Amber will receive 2 months of advertising on The Soap Bar for FREE!

There was a tie for the runners up slot.


Debbie Chialtas, of Soapy Love, for her creative coconut shaped soap. Take a look:

Soapy Love coconuts

Debbie will get 1 months advertising for free on The Soap Bar blog.

All of the straight coconut scents, as I had feared, left me wanting more, desiring that nutty milk that I could almost smell but that turned into a plastic-y sad something else. The soaps smelled very nice, but all of the soaps that I received had a common cousin, so to speak. Do not get me wrong. Every soap smelled good. Just not quite like a coconut..... Like the inside of a Mounds.

You know what I mean.

Here are the lovely soaps that came to my door. Every soap maker was kind enough, brave enough and generous enough to get their bars to me for the challenge and I take my fancy hat off to them. Thank you, thank you.

di Palermo Body

Burnt Mill Candle & Soap

Sturgis Soap Factory

Alchemic Muse

Paradise Body Shop

Body By M

La Bella Donna

Polka Dots and Posies

Bubbles Variety Shoppe

Thank you, nuts!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Coat Hanger Swirl Tutorial

I received an email last night from Gabbie of The Soap Dish in Australia offering to share her coat hanger swirl tutorial. Her soap came out so beautifully, I just had to share! Check out her blog after you've had a chance to peek at this post.

Yesterday l tried coat hanger swirling for the first time. I've used a chopstick, a skewer and a wooden spoon to swirl my soap, but never a coat hanger. l think the beauty of it is that you can get to the bottom of the soap easily while it's in the log mould, and pull it upwards & downwards; and because you're swirling 'side on' instead of the normal way, you get some really interesting patterns. Having said that though, there are so many people who do it better than me! I was a bit chuffed though with my first attempt, it turned out much better than l had dared to hope.

(basic instructions on the coat hanger swirl were first found here, what follows is merely my interpretation.)

l'm not usually very good at swirling because l always soap too warm, and use the stick blender for too long. This makes for a quite thick 'trace' that doesn't lend itself to swirling, but rather being 'heavily poured' into the mould, and spread around. Sometimes l halfheartedly poke around in it with a chopstick or skewer, but there's never really been much point, and l much prefer the 'in the pot' swirl where you blend the two colours by hand and then pour the lot into the mould and hope for the best. Patience is a virtue, especially in soapmaking, and mine is still developing, what can l say LOL.

But yesterday l was VERY patient, and l let the oils and lye go almost stone cold before making the soap. l didn't want to give it any excuse to thicken up too quickly.

l diluted my colour beforehand, and set it to one side.

I'd already altered my coat hanger with a pair of pliers, the straight sides are so it would fit into a smaller log mould:

I then mixed the lye and oils and got out the stick blender. As soon as the soap emulsified or got to that beautiful glossy 'almost trace' like stage, l put the stick blender down and didn't touch it again. The batter was still quite thin, there was a very faint pour line if you lifted the spoon above the soap & drizzled, but nothing like what l normally experience. l guess you could say it was like very thin cream.

l added my fragrance (lavender essential oil) and stirred with the spatula. It was still thin, thankfully.

I then split the batch in half and coloured one half purple - this was using purple ultramarine from Heirloom Bodycare - l premixed it with water in a bottle and had it ready to go. Stirred it in with the spatula, and things were still thin. (l was a little amazed, because normally by now l am at the 'slamming it in the mould and cursing loudly' stage LOL.)

l then started pouring the purple and white soap into the mould. l used my wooden log mould, and had it lined and ready to go. First up was a thin layer of white soap along the bottom, about a centimetre's worth. Because the soap was still very runny, when l started the purple layer, l poured it over the back of a spatula, as if l'd poured straight into the mould l think it would have sunk completely to the bottom instead of forming 'stripes'. I continued pouring, alternating colours and always over the back of a spatula so that the stripes stayed roughly 'on top' of each other. (apologies for not having photos for this stage, l didn't have an extra set of hands but l will try and get more photos next time.) I just kept layering the two colours until l ran out of soap mix. They weren't neat stripes by any means, more just rough layering of one colour on top of the other.

It was still quite thin, but l could tell it was starting to thicken slightly at this point, so l grabbed the coat hanger.

(here's a pic of how it goes in, just pretend there is soap in the mould!)

Because it was only my first time, l wasn't sure which way to swirl with the hanger, should it be from side to side, or up and down? l decided on mostly up and down, and zig zagged in a /\/\/\/\ pattern from one edge of the mould to the other. l then added in ONE 'side to side' 'Z' movement just in case, and pulled the coat hanger out. Overall l didn't swirl too much at all, l'm no expert, but l figured the more l fiddled around with it, the more l would be blending the two colours, and l wanted them to be quite distinct, not a muddy third colour.

Then l put the soap to bed as per usual, and cut it this morning. The anticipation!

Overall l was really happy with how it turned out. My favourite bar is in the second row on the right hand side ;-)

Next time l think l will do the layers a little thinner, and maybe try a few more of the up and down zig zags, it would also be fun to introduce a third colour, but l will need to work on keeping my soap mix thin consistently first!

On a different soap note: Here are Gabbie's other soaps:

So so pretty!


Thank you for sharing your tutorial, Gabbie. We always appreciate the time it takes for you to put it together and the knowledge you share with us all.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Etsy Finds :: Soap of The Milky Goat

...And A Bit of Soap Porn, Too

I have never tried a glass of milk squeezed from a goat, although I have heard it is quite tasty and even healthier than cow's milk. I really like goats. I don't like the butting part of their personality, but they are sweet. Goat's milk also does wonders for your skin when you put it in lotion or add it to soap. I have tried it once in powder form, but I need to go all out and get a quart of milk from the grocer and go crazy for my next batch of goat (milk) soap. C'mon! No goats in my soap. I promise!

Okay, so I did some eyeballing on Etsy and found some lovely soaps that I've posted here. There is one in particular that has caught my eye because f the method used. Cold kettle processing. I'd love to know if anyone has tried this. In the comment section, if you will, please let me know if (a) you have heard of it and (b) if you have tried it.

Enjoy the the sign of the goat. U

milky tea goat milk soap by Long Winter Farm

nag champa goat's milk and honey soap by Hendrick's Hearth

goat (milk) soap by Primitive Earth Soap

grapefruit gourmet goat's milk gourmet soap by Wicked Pen

oooooooooooooo. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.......

Orange Clove primitive goat's milk soap (cold kettle process) by Orange Cat Soaps

I don't think I've actually SEEN soap come from this method. It almost looks like overly toasted handmade marshmallows to me. I am loving the rustic look of these and wish I had one myself so I could touch and smell this unique bit of bar!

So, if you have tried this cold kettle process and are interested in sharing a photo tutorial, I would love to post it here for us all to learn. What fun to learn new things!!


Friday, October 16, 2009

Soap Shop Across The Big Blue

Sara Phillips is the founder of The Natural Soap Company in Wells, Norfolk, UK. She started making all natural soap in her kitchen (sound familiar?). She outgrew her kitchen quickly after falling into the common soap addiction and ended up with more soap than she could handle. Craft shows helped unload some of the soaps piling up but....finally her shop had to open.

The soap addiction must be fed, folks! I know.

The shop itself is a stone building... absolutely adorable and I wish I was close enough to actually stop by for a visit. I love the way she's set up her place. Her soaps are wrapped beautifully, the shelves are back lit and everything looks so neat and tidy and well organized.

I would swoon if I had a chance to enter that building, FOR SURE!

I love the stacks of wrapped soap. Very colorful and sweet looking. Kudos, Sara! Your shop is amazing and it looks like your addiction made you a savvy shop owner. =)

If you need to be in touch, their contact info is here.

The Natural Soap Company Limited
2d Maryland, Wells next the Sea, Norfolk NR23 1LY, UK
Telephone 01328 711717 Fax 01328 711747

Monday, October 12, 2009

My Camera Has A Beef With Me

This is why the coconuts aren't appearing here for you to see. I know you are coming here and checking in to see the coconut finalists --- to see who has taken the gold, but NO, you don't get to because my crappy point and shoot has decided to die on me and the one at work is in RAW fancy mode for photographing website photos and I don't really know how to reset it for regular shooting because I'm kind of technically stupid like that. It IS my camera and I could probably figure it out, but to be perfectly honest, which I am always to a fault, I tend to make things even more bad. Or broken. Or make my husband huff and puff which makes me tense up and bite my nails and really, do I need the extra stress of that!? Ney. I truly do not. He is funny. Have you read his blog? Funnier than anyone I have ever met, in fact. But when he isn't funny and he is irritated with me for breaking the damn camera because I messed with technology which he is a goddamn genius at? Well....then, he is not so funny.

So that is my coconut soap excuse and I hope you understand my camera dilemma. I will say, that I still am pretty sad with the coconut scent situation. I love that the people who participated made beautiful soaps and made the efforts and I will show you and your soap off because of it. You know it. Sadly, though, some of the scents, were almost plastic-ey and non-coco-nutty and pretty much what I have found over the many years of my search.

Fragrance companies: Do you hear my ROAR???? Send me your best! You will have customers. There isn't much out here for us! There is a market for you!!!!

So until then, I will continue to come and talk to you until the camera will please us both. The coconuts will sit and await the photo shoot, yes?


Friday, October 9, 2009

Ahhhh, I Seeeee

photo credit: Acai Berry Discovery

Naaah, It's Acai. (ah-sah-eee) Not only does it taste fantastic is a fruit smoothie, but it's good for you, too.Acai berries are beautiful, are good for you and are packed full of antioxidants which are both good for your insides and good for your skin. Some of these soaps actually have the berries in one or another in them. If you like just the scent, great, but if you want the topical benefits, seek out the actual acai berries in the ingredients.

Here's the Acai soap porn of the day...

The first one I found was from Charlene of Bathhouse in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Look how pretty those two colors go together!

antioxidant power punch soap chunk - acai, pomegranate and raspberry
by tashamspa

Acai and Mangosteen Dead Sea and Alean Sea Salt Bar
By Mountain Mama Chic

Hibiscus and Acai Luxury soap
at VI (Virgin Islands) Locally Grown Market

I couldn't find too much out there, but honestly, I didn't spent the kind of time I normally do to bring to your the soap porn you SO deserve every week. It's been crazy-busy in my life for the past week. It'll still come, perhaps in small bursts and bubbles.

Ta for now!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Time Keeps On Ticking Into The Future

It is officially flying. What is it, Wednesday evening? It's garbage night, tomorrow's a half day for the kid's AGAIN, I have 9 loaves of soap on order which I can't make until tomorrow because I am waiting for my 50 lb. shipment of coconut oil. I also got a phone call from my mother tonight about Monday. Apparently it's another holiday... Columbus Day. Are you crapping me negative!? By golly I think it is official that I have lost all concept of space and time. I taught a private soaping lesson on Sunday and I worked on Monday so I didn't get any days off this week (normally I try to take at least Sunday to hang with my kids and Monday to catch up...use the day unofficially unless I have wholesale orders I ned to crank out.)

Lately I feel like my brain is swimming, I am having a hard time focusing, charging from one task to another getting so many things worked on but getting nothing completed.

Right now I am so sleepy I am actually light headed, so I should probably get up, wash up and put myself to sleep before I fall out of this bed and drop the laptop on the floor. I am going to share with you a secret I have that only my family knows: I sleep with a N*A*P pillow. I love it. It is brown and snuggly.

You can see it here it you want to. But that's not how I sleep with it. See? I fluttered to a weird insignificant topic!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sweet Soap Porn Sunday ***warning

****Warning. Eat before looking at this post. I take no responsibility for anyone fatting up due to these images!

I woke up today thinking about the cinnamon sugar mix I'd sprinkle on top my buttered toast back when I was younger. I haven't done that in years. So as I sit here drinking my coffee trying to wake up, I thought I'd go find some sweet soap porn and share it. It's pretty unbelievable how real some of this stuff looks.

Baked Brown Sugar Pears: shea butter dessert soap
by the dirty housewife

Creamy Coconut Chocolate Cake Soap by layla

Honey Galore Soap Truffles by soapychica

Cutie Pie soap slices "midnight mint" by sudstress

S'mores by Dirty Ass Soaps
Don't these look edible? mmm.

Cinnamon Coffee Cake soap by Bubbles Up By Bethie B

Delizioso Exfoliating Bar in orange spice
(orange, cinnamon, clove, ginger and brown sugar) by bonghinatura

Now, go eat something healthy and walk past the bakery!