Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Spot Of Tea

Time for tea....

mango lychee boba tea soap by NEA Soap Works
I went to her blog but she hasn't been updating since 2009. I don't think her soaps are available right now, but this was floating through cyberspace and I plucked it for you to see. Gorgeous!

white tea calendula soap by Lake House Soap Works

These are all so beautiful. I need to get on into the studio and make myself a true tea blended soap. Here I come, stu-stu-studio!


Friday, November 26, 2010

Food For Thought

South Mountain Rd, New York, 2002
Personal archives.

We are not human beings on a spiritual journey.
We are spiritual beings on a human journey.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Give Away Winner Is.....

Carrie of Under The Willow ~ Congratulations!

You will receive:

2 plastic loaf pans, three 1 ounce fragrance oils from Brambleberry
and your choice of one of my perfume oils.

Thanks to everyone who participated. There will be more give aways closer to the other holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Blogs

Some of you are having trouble remembering how you designed the last holiday soap... "Did I embed it with green stars or were they red...?" Well, a while back I started a blog to keep track of my soaping history. Partly because I didn't take enough pictures of people who are gone and partly because when I look back, I can truly remember each pour and the challenges on that day.

That's what this blog is about:

Soap History - This is actually a great idea for some of you who keep journals in oil stained books (ahem). I set this up for myself to remember the ones I liked. I didn't photograph al of the ones I liked. There was a big batch of time that I totally forgot I even HAD that blog. Oh well. Anyway, If you don't already have a blog just for your soap photos as a soap journal and not your blog blog, you can even send people to it if you get to the point when you are asked to do private label or someone wants to carry your soaps. You can direct them to the soap journal blog and they can see the range.

So get yourself a blog. It is easy and you can upload your work without all that talk. :)

Product Body - Obviously this is where I update folks about my business and announce new offerings or discontinuations.

And then there is this baby... The Soap Bar, which is the MOST fun of all!!

Love you!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Heirloom Soapworks Ended Up In Jersey

Sarah won the last giveaway which was the 3 bar soap stack provided by Heirloom Soapworks. Sarah has her own blog: bennyville love blog and posted about the soaps. She loves them and describes and photographs each one. I swiped the photo above from her blog, and gave her credit, of course.

Say hi to Sarah for me!


Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Soap Bar Give Away!

I've been wanting to have a give-away for a long time, but I have been so swamped I can't even believe it. I know, this is a luxury problem. Being busy is a GOOD thing and I have no right to complain, which I am actually not doing... I'm actually just giving a reason why I haven't run a give away in a while.

So, no more excuses!

I bought 2 great plastic soap molds to make life easier for me so I wouldn't have to line molds anymore. Brilliant! Well, these molds don't release very well with cold process soap. They really were meant for melt and pour, however, it isn't marketed that way, so perhaps I am doing something wrong. Really wrong. These molds are WAY durable, not flimsy like milky way molds. Oh no! Here is a picture, except these molds that I have are translucent, not clear as pictured.

This is what's up for grabs:

Two of them!

OK, so I used them once, but they have been clean and bleached, but if I didn't tell you, you wouldn't even know they weren't new.
But there is more!

I am also including: UPDATE!!!!!! ANNE-MARIE told me that these are one ounce bottles. I am so sorry. I eye-balled them. They look bigger than the one ouncers I have from other companies.

Forgive my mistake.

ONE OZ of Brambleberry's Raspberry Porter fragrance oil
ONE OZ of Brambleberry's Honey Ale fragrance oil
ONE OZ of Brambleberry's Pumpkin Lager fragrance oil

Also included in the prize is a perfume oil of your choice from my shop.

So here is what you have to do (yes, a little dancing for me). I'd like more soap makers to find out about this blog. Why? Because I think we benefit from each other. Not because I want to be popular. I keep learning from all of you. And I'll tell you, from the comments and emails I get, we are touching each other all around the world. Trust me.

So bring people here.

Leave a comment and if you bring someone new (by way of facebook or twitter or by telling your neighbor, I don't care how. No need to prove to me. Don't care...) Just tell them to comment and to mention that you sent them here. That will get you an additional entry. You can only get one entry by commenting, but you can get as many entries from comments of others that you send here who mention you.

Winner will be randomly selected on the day before Thanksgiving, Wednesday November 24th.

Good luck!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Quick Suds Fix

A quick soap porn fix... Thursday. Let's pump out more creativity today, people. Let's BRING IT!

(pic 1 of 2) so cute!
The Whole Log Please
by Prunella soap
I love your dogs!

Soap In Sheep's Clothing
by Sheepy Hollow

by Pitter Pattern Designs

Thank you my soap friends, for the fantastic visuals this morning.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

How To Make Hot Process Soap in the Microwave

Amy Warden of Great Cakes Soapworks wrote this tutorial on her blog and allowed me to re-post it here. I think it is extremely valuable especially during this busy holiday time when we are all so busy doing a million things. Some of us may use it.

Making soap in the microwave is a great way to make a small batch of hot-process soap. It’s probably not any more dangerous than making hot processed soap with any other method. However, I must make some necessary warnings and cautions before we begin. This method is an advanced soap making technique, and should not be attempted by anyone who is not familiar with cold-process soap making, or anyone who is not prepared to watch the microwave continuously while the soap is cooking inside! I made my entire one-pound batch of soap in about an hour. Watching the microwave took about 10-15 minutes. Please read through the entire tutorial and familiarize yourself with the process and photos before you begin.

Formulating a recipe: I use my regular soap recipe, and calculate a one-pound batch using This is a great size because it is small enough to fit inside the microwave (must have room for expanding soap), and large enough that I can still submerge my stick blender. I use the water amount recommended by Soapcalc, which is 38% of oils.

Equipment needed: The same equipment you normally use for making soap is what you will need to make soap in the microwave. Since you’ve made soap before, you know what this is, right? The only thing that is different for me is that I use a 64-ounce pyrex batter bowl to melt the oils, and mix and cook the soap. You must have a bowl that is clear so you can see the soap climbing inside.

Let’s begin!

The first thing you must be acquainted with on your microwave is how to set the power level to 5, or half power. I NEVER use full power to melt the oils, or cook the soap. On my microwave, I have to push “time cook”, then the time, for example: “2 “0 “0 for two minutes, then “power level” then “5 and “start”. Yours might be different.

The buttons on my microwave

Step 1: Measure and melt the solid oils and butters. Using half power, I melt my oils a minute at a time, stirring after each minute until they are mostly melted. Then I stir until the rest melts, and add the remaining liquid oils.

Solid oils & butters are mostly melted

Step 2: Measure and mix your lye solution. Mine is a simple water and lye mixture. Be sure to start with cold liquid!

Lye solution in a plastic pitcher

Step 3: This is the best part about making hot processed soap – you can add the lye solution directly to the oils as soon as it is properly mixed without paying any attention to the temperatures.

Lye solution has been stirred into the oils with a spoon.

Step 4: Stick blend the soap until it’s too thick to blend any longer. Now it’s ready to cook!

Soap is at heavy trace

Step 5: Cooking soap in the microwave involves a repetitive process of cooking, watching, and stirring. With a one-pound batch, I start cooking the soap in the microwave for two minutes at half power. Since different microwaves cook differently, you will have to watch your soap carefully the first time you make it in the microwave. This is what my soap looks like after cooking two minutes at half power, and stirred down:

Soap after cooking for two minutes in the microwave.

Then I cook it another two minutes at half power. The soap was still actively bubbling when I took this photo:

Soap is bubbling up after the second two minutes of cooking

Step 6: Continue cooking, watching, and stirring. I set the time for about five minutes at half power – BUT I DON’T LET IT GO THE ENTIRE TIME. Watch. When the soap looks like the photo below, OPEN THE DOOR OF THE MICROWAVE IMMEDIATELY AND STIR. (You don’t have to let the soap get this high to open the door and stir it down. This was getting precariously close to volcano stage!)

View through the microwave door of the soap bubbling up.

Stir down the soap each time it bubbles up.

Stirred down soap

Continue to cook, watch, and stir.

Time saving tip: If you just open the door of the microwave and don’t hit “stop/clear/off” each time, then you can just put the soap back in the microwave and hit “start”. You won’t have to re-set the time and power level each time. If the time is running out, I hit the “add 30 seconds” button a couple times to keep it going.

When the soap is mostly translucent after stirring it down, it’s done! (This process varies each time I make soap in the microwave. This time it took about 2-3 times of cooking and stirring down before it was done. Sometimes it takes a lot more.)

Step 7: Add color and fragrance. I didn’t add fragrance to this particular batch. You will want to test the temperature of the soap and know the flash point of your fragrance before adding it, so it doesn’t burn off. As a general rule, you will use less fragrance for hot processed soap than for cold processed soap. If you normally scent your CP soap at 0.8 oz per pound of soap, you can back that off to about 0.5 oz. per pound. I add colorants at the same rate as cold processed soap.

This is going to be plain RED soap:

After the fragrance and color is mixed in, you can mash the soap into your mold and let it sit overnight. You may be able to cut it the next day, but if it’s still soft, you might have to wait a little longer. When I make soap balls, I let the soap cool in the bowl, then scoop it out with a spoon and form balls with my hands. I can get consistent sizes by weighing soap pieces on my scale before I form them.

Technically, hot processed soap is ready to use right away. You may want to let it cure out some of the excess liquid if it’s still a bit soft. However, if you’re planning to make soap balls to put in another batch of soap – it’s ready as soon as the balls are rolled!

Thank you Amy for a super tutorial! Go visit Amy a her shop and her blog. :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Soap Complaints In My House

Written August 2009 by Bradford Schmidt, my husband of 14 years. He writes two blogs, Bone In The Fan, The Meatist and writes for the newspaper, The Florida Weekly. Follow him on Twitter! @BradfordSchmidt He's funny...

Soap Duds

In which I’m lazy and use an obvious title that rhymes with a common plural noun.

You’d think that being a partner in a company that makes fresh, handmade soaps and body and bath products would pay off in some way. That the years of work, the thousands of dollars invested, the cabinets filled with awesome soap that Joanna made would be worth a little something.

And yet.

And yet, I still found myself in the shower tonight asking Joanna “Jo, do we have any soaps that don’t hurt?”

Really. There are a half dozen soaps in our shower, none of which are made by Joanna, all of which are some kind of exfoliating bar (if you define exfoliating as abrading various parts of your body). Look: I’m as happy as the next guy to have a little texture in my soap (the soap I use for soaping, that is), but what kind of crack-smoking psychotic makes soap with something approximating glass shards added as an exfoliant?

And don’t get me started on the little loofah soap dealie. You’ve seen ‘em: slices of soap with loofah inside them. Made by jamming a loofah into what’s effectively a fat tennis ball can, then melting and pouring translucent soap into it. Let it harden, pop it out, slice it up, and you have a delightful looking piece of soap that’s utterly useless unless you’re a masochist.

See, the soap melts away, leaving the loofah raised up above the surface, but not soft at all – so you can’t use it as soap, you can’t use it as loofah, but you can use it at Gitmo to replace waterboarding.

Looks like a slice of tomato. Feels like a giant steel cat tongue.

So Joanna finally handed me a piece of soap (though inexplicably still not one she made) without rocks, sand, glass or hardened loofah in it, and it stank like a South Florida grandmother with a bad perfume addiction.

I really need to talk to Joanna about this.

(this piece was originally written on his blog. I've linked the title back to his blog)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

We Need A Little Soap Porn To Kick Off November!

Happy November and welcome to PornLand... hee hee....

Big Sandalwood (Sandelholzsife) by my soapy friend Gabriele A.K.A. macsoapy and......

fruechte im schnee
Google translate: Fruits In The Snow

Check out her amazing soaps. Really beautiful. Really really.
xo Miss Macsoapy :)

And we move on to other porn...

pine and citrus scent
(I love the idea of hanging soap)

Sandalwood Seduction by Soothing Suds
swirl is intoxicating....

Enjoy your right to vote!


Monday, November 1, 2010

#35 Wins The Soap!

We have a winner for the three Heirloom soaps give away. Sarah of the Bennyville Blog! Oh my gosh, I just looked at her really cute Etsy shop. Go see.

Anyway, congratulations! Sarah get back to me with your address and I'll get your soaps out ASAP. jo(at)productbody(dot)com

Thank you to everyone for all of your comments. I loved reading every single one.