Sunday, January 30, 2011

I Should Really Explain

I should really explain my absence and sporadic posts. I used to be pretty good at posting every few days and now I'm lucky if I get over here and do anything once a week. I am sorry my soap friends. Do not give up on me. Here are some of my reasons...

Number the first: Wholesale soap orders have increased which eats up a lot of my time (and space).

Number the second: I've had to stop working at 2:30 to study and tutor my son for months. We are having issues. Enough said. Stopping my work day at 2:30 has really cut into my production and income which doesn't help matters one bit. We're finding ways to change this problem, but for the moment it's painful.

Number the third: My personal life has so much going on that if I even start typing about any of it I will breakdown - - there is just more going on than one person should have to bear. So overwhelming. Enough of that. Don't ask, don't feel sorry for me. I'll get through it all and I know there is light at the end of the tunnel. It's just an awful time and I'm explaining why writing has been hard.

Number the fourth: I haven't been blown away by soap that has come this way in a while. I really liked Jackie's salt soap (Magic Hands), but she closed shop and I have all her recipes, so there's that. I need soap to stun me again. So if you think you have a soap that will stun, please send it to me. (no lavender - but really, do I need to mention that :) )

I have missed you and your comments and support. You all are my friends and I love having you come to this blog, so please forgive my absence and let me try to get it back on track as I stumble through this crazy life of mine.

xo Joanna

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Kids Who Survived The 1930s, 40s, 50s, 60s & 70s

New York, circa 1940, © Helen Levitt. Courtesy Laurence Miller Gallery
and/or powerHouse Books.

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-base paints. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps not helmets on our heads.

As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and questionable brakes.

Riding in the back of a pick-up truck on a warm day was a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose. Not from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one actually got the cooties.

We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar. And, we weren't overweight. Why? Because we were always outside playing...that's why! We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And, we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem. We did not have Play stations, Nintendo's and X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound or CD's, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms. WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms didn’t live in us forever.

We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we never put an eye out. We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and talked to them. Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment.

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law back then!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever. The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

If YOU are one of them? CONGRATULATIONS!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good.

While you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave and lucky their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it ?


This was sent to me in a different form. I edited it - it needed a little work, but it rang true at least to me, so I thought, perhaps, it would be interesting to some of the mid 30s and older. :O)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Titanium Dioxide: Is It Safe? A Re-Post

The following was written by Erin of Inner Earth Soaps and I think it's an industry issue that might be of interest to you. I have copied it verbatim.

Recently I've had some customers asking me about titanium dioxide. I've always considered it to be a fairly innocuous product, but lately there have been some concerns over studies where it has been shown to be a possible carcinogenic, causing fear in consumers. So let's bring it out in the open.

What is titanium dioxide?
It's a naturally-occurring mineral, mined from the earth. After mining it is processed to remove impurities, leaving behind a mineral pigment in the form of a white powder.

Which products might contain titanium dioxide?
Soaps, make-up, toothpaste, sunscreen, food, plastics, paints, ink and paper, to name a few.

Why use titanium dioxide?
Apart from in sunscreen - where the titanium dioxide is used to block UV rays from the skin - it is a mostly aesthetic ingredient that makes products appear more white or opaque.

Is titanium dioxide safe?
Titanium dioxide is listed as a safe pigment, with no known side effects. However there is some debate over a specific type of titanium dioxide: ultrafine or nano particles. This is the type of titanium dioxide that is used in sunscreens, because the particles are small enough to be invisible to the naked eye, yet still reflect the UV rays. The debate is whether these particles are small enough to penetrate the skin and become a possible carcinogenic.

Does Inner Earth Soaps use titanium dioxide in their products?
Yes, in some soaps we do. Where it is used, it is listed in the ingredients. However, we don't use the ultrafine powder that is the subject of debate.

Even with this explained, some folks just don't feel comfortable using products containing titanium dioxide. So I've started experimenting with our soaps: some of the ones that currently contain titanium dioxide will be made without it. Below is our Honey Toffee soap. The one on the left contains titanium dioxide, the one on the right doesn't. You can easily tell the difference - the left one is much more opaque, and the layers more well-defined. I'm interested to see whether this new batch will be more popular.

What do you think? Do you use titanium dioxide in your products, or do you feel strongly about using products made with it? I'd love to hear your comments.


If you'd like to read the comments left for her, leave a comment for her or see the original post, please go here. Thanks, Erin!

Also feel free to express yourself!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Making Perfumes & The Hurdles

I'm spending my Saturday making perfumes. It takes me a long long time to make these concoctions. I spend hours and then I wear them, change the formula, then wear it again... mostly, they end up down the sink or in the trash. I thought perfumers had it easy, baby. Boy, was I the hell wrong. This takes so much time, it's killing me, especially because I am in the process of making a Valentine's Trio of perfume oils which will all be in the Limited Editions sector of my line.

That aside, it doesn't help when I am on the fence about a scent, so I come out of my studio, wave my arm in front of my husband's face and he says this: "Crikey, woman! It smells like you spilled a dirty bong in a patchouli factory!!"

Yeah, the support is astounding. *

I didn't like it so much anyway... had a gasoline smell I wasn't going for on Valentine's. Burning Bed wasn't my goal. Today.


Back to work, but I was tired. I designed my labels and made one perfume I am really happy with. I'm not going to share with my husband because he won't like it, but I LOVE it.

I washed up with soap, then more soap and finally dishwashing liquid from my upper arms down to my fingertips. I even scrubbed myself with a Dobie pad. If you know what that is, you know I scrubbed up.

I sat here at my desk writing after I worked for a solid Saturday while my husband played Demon's Souls for 6 hours on his PS3. Luckily my children had other things to do today other than smelling me or listening to Brad curse under his breath because once he collects 1200 souls or whatever and he dies, he has to start all over again. Poor puppy...

Later, Brad comes over to my desk to set up my computer so he can share a file or something with his computer and he covers his entire nose and mouth and says: "You must take care of this, I'm going to die." Now he's coughing over there on the other side of the room. I'm going to go take a shower and unless the oils are seeped in (which I think they are), I'll smell like me again.

*you know I love my husband and he is wildly supportive. A little too concerned with scents, though....and Demon Souls

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year, New Soap & The Art Of Soap

With holidays behind me and work starting tomorrow, I am feeling a sense of excitement along with fear as I move my business into the new year.

My company has been undergoing changes that I am happy with, but I am not finished with the changes and I have many hurdles to jump before I can get to where I must go. What I want most right now and to start the new year is to focus on soap. What it is for me, how it touches me to my very bones and the need to create tiny masterpieces that will ring true for me and for others. Hope I am not just serenading myself into a fantasy of soap-love-lust, but I am still all tied up and smitten with it.

Today, I sat with a hot cup of coffee and a book that was sent to me from Debbie Chialtas of Soapy Love. The book is her second published full color soap book that I have so generously been given. The book is a compilation of mini stories of 24 soap makers from around the world accompanied by colorful photographs of their soap. The soap maker's short story along with the close up photography of their soap brought me to tears a couple of times. The stories were powerful and a few were quite unique.

The photography was stunning and all photo credits go to Erin Pikor of Naiad Soap Arts, who is a wildly talented soap maker and now a published photographer as well!

I felt honored to be a part of the soap world when I finished the book... although I wished I had 24 more artisan soap makers to read about and see more photography of their art form.

My anxiety and excitement build up confuses me because I know what will meet me down the road. My friend and long lost soul: The art of soap making. When I have let the making part go for any length of time, I fear the worst and wonder if it will taunt me and hate me when I return. I know, you think I am crazy to think soaping takes on a being, but when I love something so so much, there is always a fear it might just disappear as quickly as it came.

I hope this book does a little heart string pulling for you as well. It just solidified the fact that no matter who we are or why we do it, soap is something we make and love, and until that is gone, we will be forever engaged.


The Art Of Soap
by Debbie Chialtas of Soapy Love
Photos by Erin Pikor of Naiad Soap Arts