Monday, June 30, 2008

I've Been Vindicated!!!!

It's just another Manic Monday....Remember that song from the Bangles? Did you know that Prince wrote that? Anyway, the meatloaf soap kinda bummed me out yesterday, so I decided to give it another shot. I changed the formula because I have absolutely no soaping oils in the house so I had to improvise. I call this soap Yahoo for Yuzu. Here's the recipe:
  • 24 oz. hydrogenated soy
  • 8 oz. cocoa butter
  • 10.56 oz water
  • 4.142 oz lye (5% superfatted)
  • 2 oz Yuzu
  • Orange zest dye from Peacock Dyes
  • Silicone loaf mold

(Shout out to Brambleberry for having a handing lye calculator on their site)

I have a confession to make: I do not calculate the temps of my oils and lye. I have had really good success (the meatloaf soap doesn't count) adding the lye straight to my liquified oils. One lesson I've learned is once you've added your fragrance, do not use your hand mixer to incorporate the scent. It could accelerate trace. Simply fold the fragrance in with your soaping spoon or spatula (never metal-wooden or plastic is best). Oh, I forgot to mention that I poured about 8 oz of the unscented raw soap in a separate container. I color that with my dye to create swirls (I have yet to master the art of the swirl, but that's another blog post in itself.)

To make a long story short, my Yahoo Yuzu turned out pretty good. My swirls leave little to be desired, but you will probably be seeing this soap on The Soap Seduction. Here is the final result.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


I was really in the CP (that's cold-pressed for all you non-soapers) soap-making mood yesterday, and I thought I'd experiment a little. I had two new bottles of lye, but no really good soaping oils, but what the heck, I had nothing but time. I decided to work with what I had in my kitchen and use some leftover oils from other projects. So the recipe went a little something like this:

  1. 16 oz. all-vegetable shortening

  2. 8 oz. hemp oil
  3. 8 oz. sweet almond oil

  4. 10.56 oz. water

  5. 4.127 oz. lye (5% superfatted)
  6. French vanilla pear FO from Wholesale Supplies Plus

  7. Green dye

Where did I go wrong? For starters, I used a water based dye. Duh! What was I thinking? When I added the dye to my raw soap, it turned a maroon-ish color. But no, I used it anyway. Hey, aren't Bartlett pears brown? Anyway, I knew I was doomed when I saw my creation turn brown, red, and yellow all at once. But I kept the faith. "It'll be alright," I lied to myself. Well, here is the soap, I mean, oil/lye disaster in all it's glory. Could it have been the oil combo? Or was it the FO? Or was it truly the dye? If someone has some insight, please share. Meanwhile, the meatloaf- shaped atrocity is in the garbage. Happy soaping!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

New Camera, New Me!

My photos used to suck-MAJORLY! Hmm, could it be my camera???? But my HP Photosmart E427 seemed to take decent pics of moi, but it's not the best choice when taking pics of your master creations that you intend to post on your website or Etsy or any other site. I'd tried in vain to make it work, but I couldn't quite get the camera to make my photos pop. Being the broke entrepreneur that I am, I did not have to want to spend the bucks on another camera, but the photos taken with my HP did not do the products justice. What's a gal to do but head on over to Circuit City and pick the cheapest, yet most photo-savvy camera. Let me just say I loathe shopping in stores. I don't like being harassed by sales people, and I just don't like shopping in person. The Internet has corrupted me for life! Anyway, I peruse the one aisle dedicated to digital cameras, but can you believe that there are like six aisles dedicated to DVDs and an entire room, not aisle, dedicated to freakin car stereos.

Anyone who knows me knows two things for sure: I'm frugal, and I'm indecisive. I hate paying full price for anything even if it is to my benefit. And....I'm on a constant quest to find the best-at a low price, of course. I swear I spent about an hour in that one little aisle testing all the cameras when finally I happen upon this little red wonder aptly named the Nikon CoolPix. It had me at CoolPix. I am cool after all, and I tell you I really took a chance on this baby. The battery was dead on the model so I couldn't even turn it on, but it looked so (pun intended) cool, that I had to buy it. It was $139.95 (why don't they just say $140.00). A little more than I was willing to pay (I told ya'll I was cheap,) but I really needed a new camera. I get home and attempt to open the plastic-sealed camera. It took me about 20 minutes just to open the thing, but once I did, it was me and the CoolPix. I never read instructions. It's so much funner (yeah, I said funner) trying to figure it out on my own. The pics were so crisp, so clear. It showed my zits beautifully where with my HP they were slightly muted. Hey, you could even see my stretch marks. I already love-hate this thing.

Well, I give the Nikon CoolPix 4.5 stars out of 5 (because I don't like my zits and stretch marks). The pic on the left is the HP shot. The one on the right is the CoolPix. It's the same soap, same lighting. It's cool.....

Friday, June 27, 2008

I'm Crazy, Crafty, Cool!

If you're looking for Bubbles and Flames, here it is! I have a new name to reflect who and what I really am: Crazy, Crafty, and Cool! I am crazy-not certifiable. I like to have a good time, and I love to reflect a little bit of crazy in my creations. I'm crafty-I love to make handmade things-birthday cards, candles, soap. And last, but certainly, not least, I'm so cool!

So with the new name comes some new features. I'll be featuring a weekly soap or candle project. I'll dish on the latest trends in soap and candle-making. I'll also highlight some of my favorite tools or supplies that I can't live without. Get crazy, crafty, and cool with me!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Etsy Vs. Website

I've asked this question on one of the many ning forums I belong to: To Etsy or Not to Etsy?That is the question. I currently run a website and an Etsy shop, and to be perfectly honest, I love my Etsy shop much more. It's more user friendly in terms of adding and listing products, but more importantly, I have a built-in audience. The downside is the competition. There are hundreds upon hundreds of soap makers on Etsy who are far more successful than I in terms of sales. I have really put in a lot of effort in the last month trying to revamp and re-build my website. I want to establish a name for The Soap Seduction on its own, but I can't shake the Etsy attraction.

If you're in the same or similar predicament, how do your prioritize? Do you put all your energies in your own website and use Etsy as an enhancement or do you give both equal attention? Which do you promote? Which should you promote? So many questions......

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Soap Seduction Is Featured On Afrobella

Hey Ya'll,

Let me preface this post by saying that although I have a new blog, I'm having the damnedest time letting this one go. This is my baby, and I can't put her to rest yet. There, I've said it. Moving on.....

Waaaay back in February, I contacted one of my favorite bloggers named Patrice who created the fabulous Afrobella about possibly reviewing some of my stuff. She immediately got back with me, and said that I was just what she was looking for, and to send it on. Well, I did. I sent her a Cupcake Soap and an Iced Lemon Biscotti bar from my shop, The Soap Seduction. Well, days had passed and turned into weeks. Then weeks turned into months. Feeling slightly dejected, I gave up. I was afraid she hated the stuff and just trashed it, until I happened to read the headline on her blog yesterday. It said Wild, Wacky Body Washes. Could this be me? I clicked on the headline and started reading, and hot damn, there I was! How exciting! This is a major coupe for me because this blog is widely read and blog-adorned. She liked me! She really liked me! Thanks Ms. Bella for showin the love!