Thursday, November 26, 2009

Me and My Pieces.....

Clever conversation has started with my daughter about my upcoming holiday gifts. Except she wants to know what I want for Christmas. I say, oh honey, make me a card and she's all, oh no mom, I want to know what you want. Hmm, so I say, no really, Nina I want you to make something for me. Buy, hey! I love wind chimes, make me wind chimes with shells that you pick from the beach or branches you find on the ground. She's like, no way mom, I've been saving my allowance.

So now it's got me thinking about stuff/objects/things/material objects.

Wow. I didn't EVER expect to stumble to this place. I was never a thing freak or materialistic, but cool stuff, and I used to like it when I had it. Did what I needed to do to get it. Get a job, barter, whatever. So now, I think about what I want so I can help my 12 year old, and I can't come up with one thing?!

Come ON!

So, this is a list of things about me that I am digging in, pulling out so I can evaluate my inner bits. Maybe make some sense of it.

my bits...

I think about my dreams when I'm not sleeping.
My sleeping dreams are bizarre fantasies that are more detailed and more interesting than most movies I have watched and often times they continue like a tv series. For instance, I will fall asleep and my dream will pick up in the exact location and in the same situation I was in last Tuesday night. Ongoing drama.
I think about the ocean more than I visit it.
I want to believe everyone means well.
I think I'm younger than I am before I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror.
I love animals, the snuggly kind, and the ones that like me, too.
I like things made by hand just for me. It makes me feel special.
I love the sound of wind rustling through leaves, especially palm trees.
I'm addicted to soap.
I love what I do.
Laughing hard is the best feeling.
I prefer independent and foreign films to blockbusters.
I hate pain.
I hate being broke.
I miss being a kid and playing dress up and getting ice cream cones and Fire Island.
I miss smoking.
I wish I had more friends.
I'd pick me for a friend if I weren't me.
I've made online friends that I wish lived closer.
Green is my favorite color. And black. And espresso.
The ocean is my favorite sound along with the sound of my children's laughter.
I love the smell of cookies, banana bread, cake.... any dessert baking is pure delight for me.
I play a mean game of air hockey.
I like games: cards, backgammon, Marco Polo, Trac Ball, Tetherball, Pictionary, Balderdash, ping pong, charades...etc.
I can snap a damp kitchen towel like nobody's business so don't mess with me once I've started kitchen clean-up or so help you.
Violence upsets me terribly, although I do watch MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). That's different, though.
Sponge Bob Square Pants is funny. I especially loved his teachings on how to blow a bubble...."and arooooouuuund the town...". :)
Frisky Dingo was just about my favorite animation show and I am so sad it is off the air.
I love opal stones.
Soft cotton pajamas and slippers may be my favorite thing to wear.
I love my bed. I could lie in it and fall asleep anytime of day or night.
I love lard bread from Brooklyn. If you aren't from Brooklyn, you won't understand.
I prefer squeaky wood floors, antique furniture and colored paint.
I like foreign food, wine, films, countries, languages and people. And YES, I believe they all deserve to be here if they want to be!
Sunlight streaming in my room makes me feel nice.
I hate feeling hunger, pain and loss.
Random hugs feel good.

There's my list. For today. I have more.
Did I get any closer to figuring out an answer for her?
Not a chance.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Laundry Soap Tutorial - Any Volunteers?

I have been asked my a few people how to make laundry soap, so I ask you, the soap people out there in Bubble Land... would anyone like to do a tutorial on making laundry soap?

I do know I have heard a lot of REALLY good things about Carrie Garvin over at Under The Willow Gifts and her fantastic laundry soap. Customers here have also asked if I would make some for them. They buy my soap, now they want me to wash their clothes. How 'bout that? Next they'll want me to wash their hair, their dog, their house and pay their mortgage...

Any volunteers?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bad Soap, Bad!

My previous post about my horrible experience with 16 pounds of failed soap made me mad and this is a follow up on what's happened since. So if you haven't read Sixteen Pounds Of Heart Breaking Soap Do-Overs Or Throw-Aways? then you might feel lost reading this.


My dear soap has been put to bed.

{Stupid head}

I cooked that sucker with oil and water and some coconut milk and I stirred and stirred and I stirred and it started to look like a beautiful vat of cooked fudge. My hopes got high and my spirit lifted, but the smell wasn't right... almost ammonia-ey. I tongue tested and zapped myself into oblivion.

I kept cooking added more water kept cooking. I was determined. I smushed every little soap bit into mush and I stirred and stirred and stirred.

Fudgey. Smooth. Got zapped again two hours later. You know, soap tastes revolting if you've never tasted it, I'll save you the trouble of feeling the urge to know if maybe it tastes good. Nope. This was chocolate soap and soap is soap, no matter what scent it is. I'm sure it was nice to watch me make a nasty face, spit a few times in the trash can and run over to grab a lollipop to kill the flavor. Bleh.

My arm was exhausted, my hand cramped and I even think I wrecked a nerve between my thumb and my index finger because it hurts like a MUTHA! So now I am mad at my soap.

I've learned my lesson. Don't leave lye solution out for three days and expect to make soap with it. I'm still learning.

That was just a ton of soap to learn with. I still say: BAD SOAP!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sixteen Pounds Of Heart Breaking Soap Do-Overs Or Throw-Aways?

I had a really busy time last week with retail orders, wholesale orders, and preparing for a my son's school craft fair fundraiser. I needed to crank out loaves of soap for a wholesale customer as well as for the shop so I prepared the lye mixtures (two sets for two 8 lb. batches) and set them aside to cool. The day I mix them went fluttering by like a turbo butterfly, as usual, and the day came to an end. I looked at the two lye mixtures and thought they'd be fine to use the next day. I've done that. It works.

Well, that very next day scurried by even faster like Runaway Ralph (a famous mouse on a motorcycle) and I had no time, not even at all, to get to making soap that day. As I was walking out of the door, I glanced at my lye solution and crossed my fingers and left for the day (the second day).

Day three: Started making soap and got to the lye solution and peered in. Hmmmmph. The solution had little shards/plates of solid lye and liquid. I figured that would all change when the lye and the oils would come together and heat up. I know, I know.... At this point, my inner lightbulb should have turned on and sparked my brain to say, "hey dummy, go make some new solution and make some great soap instead of taking a chance on 16 lbs of beautiful soap that you have made with expensive materials you've added such as babassu oil, loads of cocoa butter and kokum butter!" My reasoning? I didn't want to pour it too hot and I was scared that if I sat and waited for the lye to cool, the soap wouldn't be made again that day because of my formulating schedule.

I forced that soap to be made. I took that chance, which I happen to do with life in general, and my soap came out so beautifully. But when I went to cut it it was brittle. I did the tongue test. And I was zapped. HARD. The soap was acting as if I had added too much lye. But I didn't. I think it just didn't dissolve into the oils and there are particles floating about.

Bad soap! BAD!

C'mon. Let me blame the soap. My friend, Kim came by to chat yesterday and thankfully she chopped up two of the four loaves of soap into tiny bits while I made Coconut Milk Bath Soak. I will be cooking up that VERY BAD SOAP, adding water, stirring, adding more water today.

Are they complete piles of garbage at this point or do you all have suggestions to save these spendy loaves of soap? I think I put in 9 ounces of cocoa butter and 4 ounces of kokum butter... so I am having trouble just throwing them out.

I need your help.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Botika Closes Its Doors ~ Supplies Available

Vicki Martin, of Botika Candles, asked me to list her company's supplies to anyone who might be interested because she has decided to close her candle business. The list below has prices listed and her phone number. She is located in Texas so keep shipping costs in mind as you peruse.

I wonder if those wooden gift crates can be used as soap molds. I will be measuring mine when I get to the shop!

Vicki, I wish you the very best luck in whatever you choose to do. =)


1 Botika Candle Equipment Detail Call 806-687-1480 or 806-687-1655
2 Prices subject to change and prior sale! Quantity Price, each Price, total

4 Wicks - Various Sizes

5 Wedo LX 14 30,000
6 Wedo LX 30 10,000

8 O Haus Trooper Industrial Bench Scale TR3RS 1

10 Spraying Systems Co. - GunJet Spray Gun, Model 30L, 250 PSI, 200F (1 new, 2 used


12 Rolling bread racks each with 20 - 18" x 26" bread pans great for storage and cooling 3 $275 $825
13 Bread pans - 18" x 26" (5) 20 $6.00 $120

15 Wooden gift crates
Make an offer
16 7 1/2" L x 4" W x 2" H - 935 crates approximately

17 10 3/4" L x 3 3/4" W x 2" H - 470 crates approximately

Thursday, November 12, 2009

No Smoking, Get Clean!

I have always been a bit mystified by hemp products. Hemp is derived from marijuana but it is not marijuana. Hmm. okaaaayyyy. Honestly, I have never cared enough to ever look into it ---although, the whole hemp clothes thing stumped me years ago. How do you make clothes out of pot? Whatever. Again, I tell you. I don't care enough to look it up, and I look up everything that puzzles me. I am an information hog.

So I decided that I haven't touched on hemp oil here. The wonder oil in soaps. I still haven't tried it raw or in a soap, but in looks nice. Wonder what it smells like. Pot-ty?

Here are some beauties, I think you'll agree.

Dope On A Rope
by Point Pleasant

This soap on a stick is handmade glycerin soap blended with 100% pure cold pressed hemp seed oil, hemp seeds and patchouli essential oil. Soap has real hemp seeds & hemp fiber blended in.

Cerveza and Lime Soap
Red Eft Designs (

Not a beer drinker, but as soon as I see limes, I think of margaritas, I mean, really...

Organic Hemp Herbal Bar
by Good Enough To Eat Soap

This soap maker described in detail how each of these ingredients benefit the skin: Organic coconut oil, organic hemp oil, the hemp seed oil is infused with chamomile, comfrey, hops, marshmallow roots, nettle, parsley, sage and yucca root.

Natural Buzz Soap ~ honey buttermilk + oatmeal~
Nature's Edge Farm

Monday, November 9, 2009

Vanilla Haze

Vanilla Bourbon & Tonka Bean soap by Daybreak Lavender Farm

Two years ago, a guest blogger wrote about Daybreak Lavender Farm and particularly about a soap that I only now am seriously drooling for: Vanilla Bourbon & Tonka Bean soap.

I think two years ago when the post was written, I had been so inundated with artificial vanilla scents my entire life, that I was Vanilla-Overdosed, if you know what I mean. It wasn't until recently that I have found a new understanding and appreciation for the real Bean. In fact, my appreciation is turning into something of an obsession to find the right scent for me to create so that I can cook up my own bubbling potion in my cauldron. I am not there yet, but my journey begins. That later.

My desire (obsession) made me wander and I found the Bean and she had already been discussed here and I didn't realize it. I found her on my own. Doesn't the soap look down right edible?

The ingredients sound loving to my skin: Handcrafted of Ghanaian unrefined shea, mango and cocoa butters at in a rich base of Grade A olive oil with high oleic sunflower oil, coconut oil, pistachio oil, and castor oil.

This is how they get their soap prepared SIX MONTHS ahead of time!

Starting six months before soapmaking day, we take an insane number the finest Madagascar Vanilla beans to infuse our sunflower oil so that the orchid's elusive perfume deeply permeates every molecule of your bar.

We then add extravagant amounts of Vanilla Absolute and Vanilla Essential Oil -- along with Tonka Bean Essential Oil for a rich bottom note -- and just a touch of something very secret for the briefest of top notes.

A connoisseur's collection designed for the soap aficionado, Herbal Apothecary soaps are all handmade in small batches using the cold process method. We use only pure plant-based ingredients including natural oils, butters and waxes. We scent this exclusive collection with only pure essential oils. This creates a gentle, mild soap which is rich in unsaturated fatty acids, moisturizing and cleaning your skin.

Each bar weighs 9 ounces and costs $18.95. I thought it was a 5 ounce ouncer for $18.95 which would scare me away completely, but with all the amazing and very expensive oils and butters she puts into the soap, I can't imagine her charging much less.

I wish I had a little slice with my coffee right now so I could attach it to my nose, do some relaxing breathing and then have it join me for a bit of a shower. Doesn't that sound like a Vanilla Bean Dream?

Or am I in a Vanilla Haze?


Sunday, November 8, 2009


There are days when the cage
Doesn't seem to open very wide at all

-Martha Wainwright
(lyrics from Bleeding All Over You)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Soap Making Speed... We Better Move It

It's so hard to know how much soap to make, really. I just haven't been doing it long enough, but I'm guessing that if you are a seasoned soap maker, you probably have the same dilemma if you make cold process soap due to the lengthy cure time.

Curing soap takes 4-6 weeks with the cold process method. To make Christmas holiday shopping deadlines...hmmmm...that makes the deadline for making cp soap ...ummm... Okay, if you made a loaf of soap today, you can sell you soap on December 2nd (4 weeks), but if you are like me, and wait 6 weeks, we would have to wait until December 16th which means, we'd better get CRACKING!

I have orders of soap loaves for wholesale customers of mine and I have to make a ton of soap for the Product Body gift set we are offering in a couple of weeks. Good thing I made plenty of cp soap ahead of time for that. I will be making hot process soap as back up because the scent is so intoxicating, this stuff will fly off the shelves. Oh, it's a secret... and if you know (and you know who you are, ladies) don't squeak a peep on this blog.

Anyway, with work and other things I have to get accomplished I get squirmy and stressed because I should be making at LEAST 2 loaves of soap a day. More. I should be making more, but I just don't have time! grr.

Funny....I started soaping SO far in advance - - extra soap, more soap, lots of soap...I was SO on the ball folks. Really. This time, ME, this one, Joanna, right here, I was so prepared. And then one day a wholesale customer called and asked me what I had in my curing cabinet and claimed loaves and loaves. Oh, it's all good. I can't complain. The soapy business is good and my soaps are getting more and more popular. I am selling a lot of soap. Love it! But my soap stock is down and now I don't look quite as prepared as I once was. My cabinet is full, but my excess is not bulging. Yet.

So ... I will be on a soap making spree as I am sure some of you are already on or will be on very soon.

Tell me about YOUR soap situation this holiday season... :)

Monday, November 2, 2009


Just a personal Halloween photo...

My daughter and her friend were crayons. My daughter is the "puke green" one (yes, she chose the name for her color). They made the costumes themselves. Oh, oh... didn't you think they bought them at Target? ;)