Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mini Me

This is what you get when you don't brush your cat for weeks! I couldn't believe how much hair came off of this stinkin cat! I could have made another cat with all this hair. No wonder I was cleaning up so many puke balls lately. Duh!!!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

A Little Sweet Potato Swirl

I've had a whirlwind weekend. I was gettin crafty in my kitch. I made two batches of soap, Harvest Spice and Blackberry Vanilla. I cannot master the art of the swirl to save my friggin life! I just take my chances and roll with it. The Harvest Spice & Apple is quite lovely. I bought it from Candles & Supplies, and I've had it for a few months now. I swear I can't smell any apple in it which is why I dropped the "apple" from the name. It smells like a freshly-baked sweet potato pie with brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. It's the perfect fall fragrance, and it'll be cured just in time for fall. Here's a pic. I can't wait to try this one!

ps-I'll post the Blackberry Vanilla in a day or two.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

It Kinda Looks Like Ground Beef To Me

I've always wanted to try rebatching soap, and I never wanted to be bothered with the hassle, but I've been doing some reading, as I'm constantly in search of knowledge and perfection (I've begrudgingly accepted the fact that I'll never perfect the art of soapmaking.) Rebatching soap is simply melting down CP soap that's already cured or nearly cured, adding more stuff to it (oils, scent, herbs, etc.) and re-molding it. Sounds simple right? Well, not quite. Cold processed soap does not instantly become melt and pour soap once it cures. It's actually a gooey, gloppy mess, but it can be worth it-if it turns out okay.

Well here's a pic of my first attempt at rebatching, and let's just say I don't know whether to fry it up or take a shower with it! It looks like a beef patty to me, so I'm rebatching the rebatch and starting all over. I'll keep you posted on my efforts!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Appearances Are Everything

It's kinda sad that we live in a society where just about everything is judged on appearance as opposed to content or character. This includes persons, places, and things. I'm speaking specifically about being an entrepreneur and trying to attract new business. The way your shop or site looks is just as important as the goods you sell. Packaging is everything! I've bought some beautiful things that were packaged very simply, but I've also bought some crappy things that were beautifully packaged but I was okay with it because it was wrapped in a pretty package.

How do you stand out when you're competing with hundreds of other online shops who make and sell the same things you do? Part of the solution is the packaging-from the colors you choose to the photographs of your products to the descriptions of the products themselves. Since re-launching The Flame, I've been in desperate need of a facelift. You can't make sales until you reel the customer in. I've decided to go bold with the colors and incorporate pics of my candles into my banner and avatar. It worked wonders for my other shop, The Soap Seduction, and I'm hoping for the same with The Decadent Flame. I want to give a special thanks to Jennifer at Studio 71 Design. Her prices are very reasonable and she does fantastic work. She turned blah into "Hey, how you doin?" Thanks, Jennifer!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Another Treasury!!!

I'm on a little roll here! I hate to toot my own horn but,


It's Christmas In July!!!

I am having a huge sale over at The Decadent Flame. Every candle is 50% off! That's right half off now until midnight tomorrow.

Interested in a swap? Let's chat! I love to try new things. Happy shopping!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Breaking News Alert-My First Treasury!!!!

I can't believe it! My first Treasury on Etsy. How utterly exciting! It's so rewarding to know that someone appreciates your work! What is a Treasury? It's a forum on Etsy where buyers and sellers pick their favorite items. Usually there's some theme involved like colors, textures, like items. This particular Treasury is all about chocolate. I'm too psyched!

Feelin' Spicy!

For some reason I always have it in my head that soaps have to be sweet and/or flowery, but I'm a hot, saucy chick. Why can't my soaps reflect a little of that? Don't get me wrong, I love the fruity, feminine concoctions out there, but there's something about fragrances like ginger, black pepper, licorice, and bay rum that turn me on. Maybe it's the masculinity of these spices or maybe it's because they're so "anti-feminine" (whatever that means.)

I've been inspired to reach out to my inner spice and create some lathers that are "manly feminine." My first creation is something I call Hot, Hot Delivery Guy. It's a heady blend of ginger and lime that I picked up from Daystar Supplies. They call it Ginger Lime, but that's so obvious. This scent is so seductive to me. It's masculine. It's feminine. It's.....different. I haven't tried it in CP soaps yet, but it's very strong in the MP brand I use from SFIC Corp. I'm using an oatmeal base here, and I sprinkled a little silver mica on top for kicks. Smells great on my skin!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

New Suppliers

As much as I believe in loyalty and the "If it aint broke..." mantra, I'm always in search of something bigger and better. I guess those aren't the right choice of words. What I really mean is I'm always in search of something more efficient and cost-effective. While I believe in quality to the utmost, I'm a struggling artist, so I've gotta make my dollars work for me. I'm really starting to step up my CP making game, and I need oils-a small arsenal at a relatively small price.

I happened to be flipping through some of my old Saponifier mags, and I saw this add for Columbus Foods. What an obvious place to look for wholesale soaping oils. I have yet to find a site where you can buy 7 pounds of olive oil for less than $15.00. If you know of one, please let a sister know! Anyhoo, I go on a spree. They sell the oils in 7 pound increments, so I buy pomace olive oil, palm kernel oil, Castor oil, coconut oil, and rice bran oil. With shipping, I spent about 80 bucks. Not bad for 35 pounds of oil. When I finally get the delivery, I don't know what I was expecting, but what I have are 5 big yellow jugs. They remind me of anti-freeze containers. I'm so excited. I can't wait to start soaping. I immediately make two batches-a coconut lime shampoo bar and a concoction I call Sweet Sticky Thing. I'll post pics in a few days, but I encourage you to look at Columbus Foods if you haven't already.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It's Baaaaaaack!!!!

It kept calling me like. I was like an addict searching for her next hit. I couldn't concentrate on anything else. I literally dreamed about it. "What is it?" you're asking. Okay, I won't keep you in suspense any longer: It's The Decadent Flame!!!!!

I told myself I would concentrate on my soap making and possibly pick the candles back up in the fall, but I missed my wicked babes. I re-launched my Etsy shop today. For those of you who don't know, you better ask somebody! Just kidding. The Decadent Flame is my shop dedicated to my love of all things sweet. I make dessert-inspired candles scented and shaped like pies, cakes, sundaes, etc. The photos really don't do these candles justice. Whenever I do a show, people are just in awe that it's actually a candle. They sell like hotcakes. I'm hoping to get selected for an outdoor craft festival here in DC called Crafty Bastards. I bet when I lay these candles out next to my soaps, the soaps will get no love. I won't be surprised though. It never fails. Anyway, I'm happy that The Decadent Flame is back, and I'll be doing more candle projects really soon.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Well, It's Not A Total Loss

Hey Cool People,

I'm ready to reveal the "Why Didn't I Think Of That" soap. While I'm not thrilled with the results, I'm not totally disappointed either. As you'll recall (if not, read the previous post), I attempted to swirl with pre-colored M&P Soap. Lemme tell you this: Lye is a killer-figuratively and literally speaking. The M&P soap added to my raw soap mixture sank straight to the bottom of the mold, so my soap has a hard, purple-ish layer on top. I'm glad I didn't use "good" oils like olive oil. I would have been thoroughly pissed. What I did use was hydrogenated soybean oil and canola oil. That's it. I used no "hardening" oils like cocoa butter, palm oil, or coconut oil-because I had none-LOL!!! My soap was really soft, almost mushy when I took it out of the mold. I thought it was a total loss, but I shaped it up a little, and it aint half bad. Here it tis. Stay tuned for the next disaster, I mean, project!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Now Why Didn't I Think Of That????

I'm a busy woman. If I'm not working my 9-5, I'm working on my side hustle and my pride and joy, The Soap Seduction. I am always on the lookout for useful tips and tricks that make the creative process easier and more efficient. Here's one that is so simple, I can't believe I didn't think of it myself.

One of my biggest challenges when making CP soap is coloring the soap. Either my raw soap is too thick or the color I choose does not take to the pH levels of the soap and it turns a totally different color. Well, I learned how to combat that to some degree by incorporating this smart trick: Take about 6 oz (more or less depending on the size of your batch) of M&P soap and color it your desired shade. Add it to your raw soap or use it to create your swirls, and VOILA! You have the perfect shade. I'm making a batch of soap now using this technique, and I shall reveal the results tomorrow. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Crazy For Cupcakes and Cocoa Butter

I'm a sucker for a good cupcake. It must be moist, sweet, and fulfilling. Those of you who know me, know that I make cupcake soaps and candles. I love my mold, but I'm ready for a new one. Brambleberry has one in the works, and I cannot wait for it to come out. I use an all natural cocoa butter soap base that I bought from SFIC Corporation. I love their soaps because they don't use any additives or preservatives like sodium lauryl sulfate or surfactants. In layman's terms, that means no extra foaming agents or detergents. I love cocoa butter because of its creaminess and the slight chocolate-y scent. Cocoa butter does wonders for my skin. I get really ashy, and with continued use, it really has evened out my skin tone and made me less ashy. I use a cocoa butter base in many of my soaps.

I made some new cupcake soaps today because I was bored with the look of my old ones. I decided to jazz them up a bit with some neon "frostings." I also decided to throw a few glycerin raspberries on top to mix it up a bit. I usually color my cupcakes yellow, but I decided to make a few chocolate ones. They're okay, but the frosting doesn't pop like the yellow ones. Can you believe I haven't indulged in my own creation yet? As soon as I make one, someone's always taking it from me. I think I'm going to take this little green number for myself and take a warm shower.