Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
This fragrance behaved for 3 whole weeks while curing-no doo-doo spots or nothing, but out of nowhere, the vanilla monster reared its ugly-ass head! I added vanilla browning neutralizer, and I kept my fingers crossed for almost a month. My lemon chiffon poppy seed soap looks like somebody took a dump on it, but it smells really good. I don't know what to do with it.....
If you haven't guessed it by now I am a mintal, not mental, case, and green is my favorite color-all shades of it. Even my birthstone is green (peridot), and my theory was right: I added the mica before I began mixing the oils and lye, and it worked! The color blended smoothly, and I did not get a super-thick trace. Of course I scented the green half in Garden Mint and the other half in Bourbon de Vanille. I didn't even bother coloring the vanilla half because it's gonna turn brown anyway (vanilla browns for ya'll who didn't know that).
The mint portion of this soap is very strong. I can barely smell the vanilla so I look forward to seeing how this soap plays out.
Ingredients: soybean oil, rice bran oil, coconut oil, castor oil, avocado oil, and cocoa butter. My apartment was so friggin hot that my coconut oil liquified and dripped all over my counter!
Monday, April 27, 2009
So, what did I make? I made this batch of soap scented in Pink Jasmine Musk. I don't know how to describe this scent. It's definitely feminine. It's soft. It's floral. And it is musk-y. My dining room lingered of this fragrance for hours after I poured and insulated this batch. My intent was to make this a pink and green soap, but I had a momentary memory lapse and grabbed the brown mica instead. One mistake I've been making is to add my mica at a light trace. That aint workin'! By the time I whiz the mica into the soap to get it all mixed in, it's at a very thick, pudding-like consistency. The good part about that was I was able to create these cool-looking swirls on top. I'm going to start adding my colorant right after I add my lye mixture to see how it works.
Well, what do you think? Have you noticed that I've been using my straight cutter a lot lately? No, shame on you for not being observant*-D
Sunday, April 26, 2009
It's hot as hell here, but I always keep things cool! I have the honor of being featured on one of my favorite blogs, NY Blaque. This was the most intense interview I've had so far. Andrea asked some really thought-provoking questions. Get the scoop here.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Well that can pretty much be said about anything that's handmade: It's too expensive. I can get that for much less. But what are you comparing it too? Wal-Mart or Nordstrom? Hell, Goodwill can look too expensive compared to Wal-Mart, but the point I'm making is that just because it has the "handmade" tag attached to it does not automatically mean it should be inexpensive! In fact, anything that's made from scratch with human hands made with the utmost precision, and dare I say-love, should cost more than the factory-made, mass-produced version. Handmade artists have to eat just like the factory worker does.
Getting back to the handmade soap is too expensive: I was compelled to write this post following a heated discussion in the Artfire forums this week. The basis of the "discussion" was "handmade soap is too expensive when I can buy a multi-pack of soap for the price of one bar that soapmakers are selling here." I maintained my cool as I wanted to see how this would play out. Needless to say, the lady who started the thread got ripped along with anyone who co-signed with her. I love my fellow soapmakers because they came in and set 'em straight, boy! I have to really shout out Pegasus Soaps and Soapsmith who were very polite but firm in their defense of why handmade soap costs what it does. I especially love what Pegasus said about the ingredients to make soap aren't cheap-and they aren't! Olive oil is very expensive. Shea butter is twice as expensive. For a good soapmaker, it's about quality-not quantity. I could sell you a bunch of handmade soap made with primarily lard or soybean oil which are relatively inexpensive compared to olive oil and shea butter, but one: I only make vegan soaps, and two: I care about what I put into my product. Like Soapsmith stressed, we soapmakers don't make a lot of money doing this. We do it for love of soapmaking. To make a profit, you'd have to sell a lot of soap-like having wholesale clients or maybe sell only melt and pour like a lot of successful Etsy sellers do. Melt and pour soap is inexpensive relative to buying raw ingredients to make soap. And let's not forget those soap disasters when a batch doesn't come out right-and I mean, completely tanked, unusable soap.
To wrap this all up, handmade soap is the best soap for your skin bar none (pun intended). It's made with oils and butters that moisturize and nourish. It makes it's only natural glycerin-which by the way those commercial detergent bars remove so that the "soap" stays hard and lasts longer. They're unique and they are affordable in that for every detergent bar you buy, you'll need twice as much moisturizer or lotion to combat the dryness your skin will suffer. But, if it comes down to having train fare or buying a bar of handmade soap, by all means, buy that fare card and the dollar "soap"! I know times are hard....
I'd love to read your take on the matter. Oh, by the way, a very nice lady from that same forum purchased some soap from me to send anonymously to one of the nay-sayers. Hopefully, we'll make a convert out of her!
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
I love really big pieces that make a statement. These flower pendants are perfect. I love the white ones.
The rings are gorgeous.
I even love the little flower studs.
If you're looking for a statement or signature piece that's gentle on your wallet but fierce in style, check out FancifulForm. I know I am!
Monday, April 20, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
The Blogfire Guild of Art Fire (of which I am a distinguished member) will be featured on Blockhead Radio next Tuesday (the 21st) at 8:00 pm! If you don't know what Blockhead Radio is, I suggest you crawl from under your cozy rock and check it out. I discovered them through The Copper Cauldron's blog about a month or two ago, and I've been creeping in and out ever since. I don't know about you, but I follow a lot of blogs, and while I don't comment on every single one, I actually do read them all. I'm a lurker, a silent creeper, and I only comment when I really have something meaningful, insightful, or cheeky to say. Here I go again, blah, blah, ramble....
Back to Blockhead Radio: It's an indie (fits right in with us eh?) radio station that features and spotlights indie artists-musicians, painters, crafters, you name it. There's a 24/7 online chat forum, and you can listen to tunes while you schmooze. I'm going to be online next Tuesday lurking and schmoozing. Hope you can make it!
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
Getting back to the soap: I bought this fragrance Grapefruit Lily on a whim from Brambleberry about a year ago, not knowing if I'd love it or hate it. I'm not a floral gal at all. I like earthy, fruity, or foody scents. Anyway, I was still very new to making cold processed soap, and this was probably my third or fourth batch, but only my second successful one. I did no research on color or anything. I had some pink Peacock Dye and said to myself, okay, grapefruit is pink, so I'll go with pink. I attempted to do a swirl which looked great on the top, but I didn't hold my pour high enough, so it didn't go all the way to the bottom. When I cut the soap, only the bottom of it was swirled. It's quite hilarious now that I've gotten better and more confident in my soapmaking, but a year ago, I thought this was the best looking soap on the planet!
I actually have a few small wedges of this batch left. I absolutely love this scent! It's so fresh and not overly-floral. It's definitely more flowery than grapefruit-y, but it's the perfect balance. So how could I possible improve on perfection? Remember those oxides I told you about a few posts ago? I decided to try them, and I actually had a plan, but of course I screwed it all up! When I think of lily, two things come to mind: my grandmother, Lily, and Calla Lily. I think those are the most beautiful flowers ever, but I didn't want another pink and "white" soap. I googled "lily" and found this beautiful tiger lily. BINGO! Not only was a beautiful shade of orange, but it would be the perfect excuse if my colorant speckled. I'd pass it off as Grapefruit Tiger Lily Soap. I can barely contain myself as I write this because I goofed this soap up so badly...
First of all, I stirred too long, so my trace was a lot thicker than I wanted it to be before I separated the batch in two. I chose a brick red oxide and a pink oxide-I love pink, and I love pink grapefruit. When I reached the desired trace, I separated the batch so that I color one half reddish-orange, and the other half pink. Being the overzealous person that I am, I colored half of my batch and proceeded to stir it in, when "#(#*(*&!%" I FORGOT TO ADD THE MICA!!! I knew I was doomed because my soap was already at a decent trace, and I knew once I added that mica I would have to zap it some more with my stick blender, but I did it anyway. I was determined to have two-toned soap! All it took was about 3 zaps, and half of my soap batch was as thick as cake frosting. I glopped it in my mold and spread it evenly as if I were frosting a cake because that's basically what it was at this point. I colored the other half of the soap which was still pretty liquid and very pourable. I never scent my accent color. When I poured it over the soap "frosting", it was disastrous. I made the further mistake of trying to swirl it. What I should have done was left it as it by having the red/orange soap sit on top of the pink soap to give it a layered look. Well, here's the finished result:
In my defense, it looks a lot better in person than it does in these pics. I also used a straight cutter (why?) to detail my swirl-challenged skills. You know what though? I kinda like it. It smells really good. The grapefruit is really strong, but I expect it to mellow out once it's fully cured. I also have to say that I'm really liking these oxides and ultramarines. They didn't really speckle, and had I done the right thing, the colors would have been a lot prettier. The first batch was made with palm, coconut, olive, and castor oils. The new batch was made with olive, rice bran, sweet almond, and coconut oils, and shea, mango, and cocoa butters. These are the most ingredients I've ever used in a soap. I can't wait to try this one. I'll keep you posted!
Sunday, April 12, 2009
This version is decorated with sweet condensed milk, hot fudge sauce, and whipped topping sprinkled with butterscotch chips. Dieters beware. Your diet will be shot to hell after one bite of this cake. I could literally eat this entire cake myself. I'd share though....reluctantly.
Why is it Easter is the one day of the year when you can count on getting a brand, spanking new outfit-in my case, a dress, hat, and black patent leather shoes? If they weren't patent leather, you could forget it! After church, my parents, sister, and I would go to my grandparent's house for food, fellowship and to show off our new duds. I wanted to put together a collage of all my frou-frou dresses, but my scanner is acting like a butt hole. In looking back at those photos, two things were constant: my dresses were either white or sunny yellow and I wore my trademark patent leathers. Ahh, those were the good ole days. Guess what I'm wearing today? Jeans!
Have a Happy Easter. I'll tell you all about my latest soap disaster in the next post!
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
I also let this soap sit in the mold for about 3 days before un-molding and cutting. I'm learning to be patient. Besides, I always end up with smudged soap when cutting it too soon after un-molding. I'm off to make more soap. I'm dipping my toe into the pool of micas and oxides. I find them a little intimidating because they always clump when I use them. I'll post more pics in the coming week!
- It's the end of the work week (for me anyway).
- I can stay up late tonight and sleep in on Saturday.
- My family's planning a big Easter celebration with lots of food and friends!
I am even going to attempt to bake a cake! This aint no ordinary cake either. I'm actually going to make the recipe on the back of the box, LOL! I'll reveal some pics on Sunday because it's actually a 2-day process.
I'm not catholic, although I attended a catholic grade school up until high school, but my grandmother would never let us eat meat on Good Friday. We could only eat fish, and those are some of my fondest memories. My mom was severely allergic to fish so we could never have it in the house. Just the smell of it would cause her swell up like a puffer fish (pun intended) so my sister and I looked forward to fish at grandma's house. I think I'll honor that tradition today and forgo red meat and get a fish sandwich from somewhere. Then I'll come home tonight and prepare my lye solutions for a mega soapathon tomorrow.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
I have been asking myself this question since I read this humorous, albeit, true article on Etsy Bitch the other night. While the motivation of this site is to call out Etsy for all its faults in a snarky, smart-alecky way, there is some truth and useful information hidden in all the muck. The gist of this article was to refute the "Quit Your Day Job" series that Etsy regularly features. While I read Etsy Bitch solely for laughs and entertainment, this particular article has really made me think: Am I spending my ad dollars wisely? The article hit a nerve when it asked:
"Which is a good ad? An insular 10 cent spot on a craft blog with 6 readers running Project Wonderful ads because you like the chick with the blog ? Or A 10 cent Project Wonderful spot on a NON-craft blog?"
OMG: That's me! I've been spending money on ads that I know won't necessarily garner any views or clicks because I've been patronizing my friends and not being a smart business woman. Let me say that this is nothing personal against those I've advertised with in the past, and this is not an attack on anyone I've advertised with in the past. I've been running my business with my heart and not my head, and it shows! So what steps have I taken to rectify this?
For one, I'm carefully researching every site I choose to advertise on before I just jump into it. Secondly, I'm no longer keeping all of my eggs in one basket. I vowed that I wouldn't sell on any other venue other than Art Fire. I've decided to keep my Etsy shop open. As lost as I feel there, I do have some fans there, and there's such a huge audience there, that I'm not willing to let go just yet. I also have my 1000 Markets shop. I have yet to make a sale there since joining in November 2008 (I did blow the one sale I could've made, but I saved it by directing the buyer to my Art Fire shop), but I love the look of that venue. Lastly, I just opened my shop on Funky Finds. I discovered them about two years ago as an advertising venue, and they've just started a selling market about a year or so ago. I am also in the process of re-starting my own website using a dot com and re-directing it to one of my venue shops. Why should I give all the glory to these venues when I'm trying to make a presence for myself? These are just a few baby steps as I have looooong way to go. I'm tired of wasting money, and I'm getting my act together. Any other tips or words of wisdom you'd like to share?
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
Thursday, April 2, 2009
- Drivers who don't use their turn signals. PISSES ME OFF!!!
- When my soap doesn't turn out right. PISSES ME OFF!!!
- Oversleeping. PISSES ME OFF!!!
- Missing the opening credits to a good movie. PISSES ME OFF!!!
- Having to pee in the middle of the night while I'm in a deep sleep. PISSES ME OFF!!!
- That yucky mustard or ketchup juice that squirts out of the bottle when you don't shake well before using. PISSES ME OFF!!!
- Running out of wet cat food. PISSES THE CAT OFF!!!
- Not realizing I've run out of cotton swabs or toilet paper. PISSES ME OFF!!!
- When the Redskins lose a game that a Pop Warner team could easily beat. PISSES ME OFF!!!
- Chipping my nail polish the moment I leave the salon. PISSES ME OFF!!!
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
- Wheat Thins Artisan Crackers: They had me at "artisan." I am addicted to these cheesy wonders. No more caked on, cheesy fingers (although I still love to let it build up thick and bite it off!)
- Finding a good movie on TV that I've seen 1000 xs, but I still get excited about.
- Having all 10 of my nails be the same length (only for them to break off the moment I polish them. What's with that???)
- Taking a hot shower (It's my one vice, and I'm supposed to be eco-friendly)
- The Ped Egg. If you don't have one of those, OMG, you are missing out. I love emptying the filings (Was that really from my feet? ICK!)
- Jamaican beef patties. They're greasy and fatty as hell, but damn, they're good.
- Finding something in my size (14, on the cusp of a 12) on bananarepublic.com.
- Sleeping til the crack of lunch.
- Remembering the punchline to a joke. (Your mama is so stupid, she had a boy and girl set of twins and named them Deniece and Danephew)
- Scoring something really cool from Goodwill. I don't care how much money you have, a bargain is a bargain.
What are some of your favorite little things?