Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Ghost Mansion

Today I spoke to a friend and told the story of my dream that I've so conveniently tucked away in the  "not happening anytime soon" brain file.  So many years ago, I had a vision for us soapers/crafters..... a dream to find an old mansion and restore it over time.  This place would be my home, and it would have 12 or more bedrooms and two kitchens.  I want to create a Soaper's Retreat

Every person would come, be able to soap at will (all supplies provided), and there would be a small stipend for the supplies and running costs of that portion of the house.  Overwhelmed people could just escape from their daily grind to vacation, soap, relax and socialize.  They could either stay and use the gardens, lounge under the shady oak tree and soap!  There would be a badminton course, tether ball, playing cards, backgammon and board games.  When people would stay the night, we'd hire a chef for every dinner and supply fine wine.  Or whip up dinner together.

The Soap Bar Blog has grown over the years and part of it was to introduce handmade soap and their makers to the world and to create a community between soap makers which didn't really exist online. I am still looking around for new ways to connect with all of you and have you connect with each other, but there just isn't the physical proximity and hands-on sharing that I long for.  I know I am not alone.  The Soapmaker's Guild Conference that occurs every year is one way to connect and learn, and I haven't been to one yet, but it is organized and scheduled which isn't the vision I have for the Retreat.  This is a photo of an abandoned house.... looks so perfect.

Here is an old post about this very idea that I do hope can come to fruition after I become wealthy ;).  Hey, ya never know! (re-posted from April 2009):

Soapmaker's Dream Getaway

My big fat brain has been thinking about a soapmaker's retreat location for well over a year now. Way back when, I had hoped that I could arrange a soapmakers get away here in Florida sometime during the Winter months and get a boat load of soapers together in one place. Who knows? From all around the world maybe?? I think many of us have made friends and acquaintances through this blog and through the soap community in general.

My dream consisted of a large 10-15 room mansion with a huge living room and dining room where we could all gather and get to know each other and relax and cook for each other. I also envision a commercial kitchen (?) where we could make a few batches of soap ..... a workshop or two planned for one day and the next, treated as a retreat poolside or beach side or whatever.

Or just a retreat. The cost would be airfare, room and board and cost of the workshop. Or no workshop. I like to dream.

a) I'd love to meet so many of you. I think so many of you also want to meet each other!
b) Not all of us can afford the Soapmaker's Guild Conference.
c) The Winter is brutal in so many places, Florida is heaven in January.

h e a v e n

...not so much in the Summer, though. Then one (me. everyone.) melts.
You could fry an egg on the hood of my car. Easily.

d) If you have children, maybe this is a wonderful reason to take time just for you.

I'm not pitching this, ya'see, because I don't have a mansion on the beach, and I don't know anyone who does. Tiger Woods is building his estate on Jupiter Island, but I don't think we'd be invited, and I don't think we'd find each other in that house anyway, not even in his 10,000 ft. small guesthouse. Also, Celine Dion lives there...they might be neighbors, I don't know... but I know she wouldn't have us there. We would be too rowdy!! (Jupiter Island and Tiger Woods house is about 4000 ft away if I flew from my house to his, according to Mapquest ariel view).

So even though I live just feet from some of the richest people in THE WORLD (!!!), it doesn't mean that there square footage has rubbed off on my house. (dumb house)

Too bad it's not contagious.

So I continue to dream.  If anyone has a mansion they'd like to donate, I would take it by the tail and run with it and make the best damn soap connection ever.

So dream.  It feels good.  :)

xo Jo

(ps:  I know a ton of you are members of the FB Group of ours, but please comment HERE, as there are plenty of people who read this blog that would love your input.  Me too.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

This N That

I think May has been a rough month for some of us and certainly for me.  Three failed batches of soap this month  (No re-batching!  Michael, re-batching is Satan's work ;))

I have been neglecting The Soap Bar for reasons I can't go into on this blog, but I am trying to make it interesting considering I don't have time for tutorials, photo shoots and extra time right now.  I have gotten heavily into making soap more naturally and with an abundance of skin-loving goodies.  I feel like it is time to recalculate my more basic formulas to be chock full of yummy stuff as well.  I have have been loving making Carrotmilk, Fat Boy, Detox, The Sea Bar and Palm Beach Illustrated.  They each have their own distinguishable ingredients that I adore. 

I do love our Facebook group page.  Every member is wonderful and I'm glad we have some humor going on. Life can get so serious sometimes.  Geez!   We now have over 600 group members and I am ecstatic about all the information we are sharing with eachother.  I am in awe with the community feel I get from the place.  I've made new friends and I am just chuffed!

I tip my hat to the Great Michael Kitney of My Planet Earth Soap Company for making this wonderful picture for our FB Group header (with my PBI soap in the shot):

"Agh, if you don't make perfect soap, like this, you will be banished to my work prison
camp and forced to rebatch forever!!!!! BAAAAAHHAHAHAHA!!!!" 

(thank you Tracy Wells for the caption!!)

So this is what I did to it for our header:

Thanks, Michael for inspiration!!!  And your humor!  And for using my soap.  And for being you.



Friday, May 18, 2012

Sand Bars Here We Come!

 Sand and sun....just was summer calls for right??  Baby steps to a fabulous one, folks!


Sand Soap by Soap Mystic on Flickr 

and can I just say, "wow" on their soap packaging?  Take a look!

Soap Mystic packaging.... so gorgeous

"..juicy ripe peaches and fresh coconut with hints of sweet milk with beach sand.." 

Jasmine, Ylang Ylang and Nam Champa Essential Oils with Florida Gulf Coast Sand (exfoliant)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Miss Polly

Ruby Grapefruit + Sugarcane by

I had the pleasure of using this delicious soap, made with care by Polly McNamara of Miss Polly's soap company in the UK.  I was very interested in this scent because I love ruby red grapefruit already, but then adding sugarcane....?  Oh please, help me...had to have it.  They were adorable and compact.  Almost half the size of a standard bar but beautiful all the same (as you can see in the picture).  The color and design were cheerful and sweetly femine and the added dried roses on the tops were gorgeous until I got them in the water.  Then the petals looked kind of sad.

The smell was how I had imagined it would be and I spent a considerable amount of time in the shower sniffing the soap and getting my sugar grapefruit on.  :)  The soap lathered quickly with creamy bubbles and was smooth on my skin with no "drag", which is something I have great fondness for.  For me, the bar was a rectangular shaped block and it was hard for my hands to get comfortable with the soap.  Now, this isn't to say it wouldn't work for other people, it just wasn't easy to wash with in the shower as I kept dropping it.  That bar is long gone, but I still have another soap of hers that I will be placing in my bathroom at the sink.  I believe it will be the perfect soap for handwashing.

Bravo to Miss Polly, with her beautiful soaps that are simple and sweet, with undeniably stunning and classy packaging.  She obviously spends a great deal of care wrapping each soap which is gift-ready and perfectly adorable! 

To Miss Polly from me:  xoxo