Friday, October 30, 2009

Look What I've Won!!!

I love contests and giveaways! The winner of my giveaway at Ozark Scents was crowned yesterday (shout out to Amy for being such a gracious host!) What I love more that hosting giveaways is winning them-especially the ones where you don't have to jump through hoops (follow my blog, follow me on Twitter, blog about it...blah, blah...Oh WAIT! That's how I do my giveaways...HEEHEE...) Anyway, Amber over at Amber's Ambry (You must follow this blog! It's often hilarious, insightful, and full of real life adventure-good and bad...) blogged about her newest lip balm, and she was giving it away to the first 5 commenters, and I was commenter #4 (or was it #3?...) Isn't this the cutest little container. Don't you love the blueberry? I think they're hand-drawn too, and it smells like a sweet, plump blueberry.

I've been tweaking my own lip balms, and this one reminds me a lot of my new formula (reveal to follow soon...). Until then, check out Amber's Etsy shop. Her soaps and stuff have that real "old town" feel too it. Where have I been all this time that I'm just finding her???

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Don't Even Ask...

Cuz I don't know what it is yet....This is what I get for trying to be cute! I need to stick to what I do best-just make the soap and stop trying to get ultra-creative! I'm a no-frills kinda gal, but I like to get a little frisky sometimes, but the results of this soap is definitely one of those WTF moments.

I won't even go into detail, but I'm selling this bad boy! Why is it the ugliest soaps smell the best? This one is vanilla with rose, jasmine, tonka bean, and bergamot. I put those white dots in there on purpose. This soap looks like it has chicken pox or it needs the H1N1 vaccine. Anyway, I'll give it a cheeky name and list it on one of my venues. Speaking of venues, I think I have too many. I can't keep up. Two of them are free til I sell something, but I haven't sold anything, so I'm not overly concerned.

Where is my lye??? I need to make some more soap. I'm having withdrawal pains...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Busy Weekend!

O-M-G! I was featured in the Etsy Storque last week (thanks to Epically Epic Soap for recommending my soap!), and the power of the press is no joke! Within 2 hours, I sold completely out of this soap after it had been sitting in a plastic bin since I made it about a month and a half ago. Even the ugly bits that I had sold! Now, I've made more-a bigger batch because the inquiries are still flowing.

With that being said, I've also been ordering raw materials and supplies in preparation for the holidays. I'm so disorganized, it's ridiculous. I'm trying to do inventory, but I get so overwhelmed that I can't focus. My mind has a thousand things on it at once! My living room is a disaster, my garbage is overflowing, and I haven't been on Twitter in a week! But I'm determined to be prepared this season. Last year was such a disaster. I didn't plan properly, so my sales tanked. I will not make that mistake this year!

Well, I'm just rambling, so I think I'll shut up now...I've got soaps to make!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I'm Officially A Lard Ass!

Yeah, I said it: LARD ASS! This has nothing to do with my weight (although this could be argued, but then I'd have to kill you..heehee). Remember that scene from the movie Stand By Me where River Phoenix's character is telling the story about Lard Ass exacting his revenge on the townspeople for making fun of his weight? I loved that story! Anyway, I'm referring to my first batch of soap made with lard-you know-the thick, white stuff that's used in some good ole southern-style meals. No? Okay, pig fat! Here's the inspiration for this soap:

The other day I received a very interesting and thought-provoking comment from a reader who wanted to know why soap makers tout their soaps as "vegan," or "vegan-friendly," and why soap makers who use goat's milk, lard, or tallow are viewed as the anti-Christ. Okay, I'm exaggerating her comment slightly, but her point was good soap can be made with animal products. That got me to thinking....I don't use animal products in my soaps-not because I'm vegan (farthest from it), but because I never had an interest or desire to make soaps with animal milk or fat. I have probably 8 oz of powdered goat's milk just sitting collecting dust. I just didn't know how to incorporate it into my soaps. I've read that they make creamy, wonderful lather. But the one thing that really got me going was lard. The name alone gives me the willies. I keep seeing that old coffee can filled with greasy, pork-chop-scented fat on my grandmother's stove. But, I had to give it a try. I went to the Safeway to buy a bottle of olive oil to use for a couple of batches of soap, and decided to see if by chance there'd be any lard for sale. I was really surprised when I found it sitting right next to the Scrapple (loves that stuff! Do you know what's in scrapple? No? The name implies it all! You haven't had good eatin' til you've had a scrapple and fried egg sandwich!). It was packaged in a non-descript white tub. It retails 16 oz for like $1.50. I couldn't wait to open it up, and when I did....EWWWW! Are you kidding me? It smelled like week-old fatback! I forget it is pig fat so it's not going to smell like a smothered pork chop, but I was just taken aback.

This is really a test batch (if it cures well and smells nice, then I'll sell it.) I made this with lard, rice bran, and palm kernel oil. It's scented in Almond, and I sprinkled a bunch of calendula leaves on top for "garnish." This almond is really strong. I like it though. I've never used it before, and I'm quite pleased with it. I think I'll blend it next time though because it's a little too sweet for my person taste. So, what do you think of my Lard Ass Soap?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Let's Talk Turkey: You Are In Control, Not The Venue

You know as online sellers we tend to get caught up in the venues on which we sell our handmade goods. It seems to have escalated lately to a gang-like mentality. I'm speaking specifically about Etsy vs. Art Fire. You have your die-hard "Etsians" and your die-hard "Art Firers." I currently sell on both venues like many artisans do, and I have no allegiance to either venue. I see each one as merely an outlet in which to sell my soaps. I could run down a list of pros and cons for each one, but for me personally, it all boils down to my bottom line: Which one is going to bring my business the most exposure and be the most cost-effective? The answer? BOTH!

Right now, no one can compete with Etsy as far as venue recognition. Etsy brings in tens of thousands new visitors to its site monthly which is great for me, but the fees associated with that exposure are not very cost-effective! Between listing, re-listing, and renewing items, my bill averages anywhere from $25-$35 per month depending on my sales activity.

Now Art Fire is still relatively new. The traffic to the site right now is nowhere near that of Etsy's, but the features and benefits leave Etsy in the dust-specifically the new coupon code system-no more adjusting prices or doing PayPal refunds. Also, you pay one fixed fee for unlimited listings.

So where am I going with all this? I will continue to sell on both venues, but I'm re-evaluating how I choose to market my online shops. Right now, that means scaling back on Etsy. The fees are simply killing me! I'm going to start marketing my Art Fire shop a little heavier to see if I get as many visits and/or sales as my Etsy shop. Remember, you're in control of your success, not Etsy and not Art Fire!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Soap Addiction Is International!

And I thought it was a domestic issue! I have discovered so many wonderful soap makers from around the globe who make me look like Boo Boo the Fool! Oh-my-goodness! If I could afford to travel the world and just watch these ladies in action, I'd be one happy chick! Peep these soaps. I'm sipping much haterade today:)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I'm A Sudsy Soapmaker Blogger? Yeah, I Am:)

(Click the pic to go to the article)

They also forget sexy and silly, but they don't know me that well, heehee.... Seriously though, I love Twitter for so many reasons, none of which include promoting my business (another day, another post). I like jabbering and meeting people. It allows me to overcome my extreme shyness and be myself. If all these folks were in a room together, I'd have nothing to say, but anonymity (to some degree) allows me to open up...Okay, I digress, so let's get back to the subject at hand. I was selected as an "inspirational" blog for lovers of handmade soap and aspiring soap makers. Well, I feel that I still have much to learn, but I'm enjoying the journey, and I do appreciate that somebody finds worth in what I do (that too is another day, another post.) I'd like to give a shout out to my friend Ms. Yummy for Yummy Suds who also made the list (Now her soaps are the bomb!)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Missing Blogger Alert! I'm Calling You Out-Part II

Hello??? Where are you? I miss you. Are you still here? It's been forever since your last post, and I wanna know what's going on!!!!

Please reply to this post to let me know that you're still present and accounted for. Love ya!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

So, I'm Sponsoring This Lil Giveaway....

"Why do you give away your stuff?" is a question I'm asked every now and then. Because I'm an attention whore that's why!!! No, seriously, I love to share, and I believe it's necessary to give in order to receive. I'll shut up now and just say head over to Ozark Scents and enter their latest giveaway featuring moi. I know somebody's birthday is coming up and you're gonna need a gift. Okay, then do it for you cuz you deserve it!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Just Call Me The Soap Recycler!

I'm not a fan of re-batching soap-mainly because I totally suck at it. So I've discovered a new way to re-batch: slice, dice, shred, and roll baby! I have a plethora (love that word) of soaps that aren't selling or that I just don't like that can be used for a greater good-like making more soap. The latest batch comes courtesy of a soap I made last summer called Mintal Case. It was a fusion of vanilla and mint, but it was more minty than anything. Since this soap hasn't moved (sold) like I wanted it to, I decided to re-purpose it. This time I went the traditional chocolate and mint route, and here is the finished product. I didn't use any coloring in this soap because I expect the chocolate to darken the soap as it cures. Besides, the brown and green chunks give this soap plenty of color.

I'll be back later in the week with an all-new recycled, or is it upcycled soap!

Friday, October 9, 2009

All Liquored Up!

Can I buy you a drink? Better yet, why don't you buy me a drink! This is my latest soapy creation called what else but All Liquored Up. This soap is not for the faint at heart. It's not dainty. It's not sweet. And it's definitely not feminine. My mother would definitely say that this is a soap for broads! It literally smells like a shot of fruit-tinged whiskey. I want to take a sip every time I get a whiff-and it's strong!

I just love the colors in this soap-so rich and vibrant like the leaves after they first turn but before they get all dry and crumbly. This soap would be perfect for the person who loves and appreciates a good shot of "something." It's smooth and robust with splashes of cinnamon, orange, and vanilla with a hefty dose of good ole whiskey! The little balls on the tops represent "on the rocks." Made with rice bran, coconut, and palm oils along with cocoa butter, this soap is a must-have and will be ready by November 1-just in time for your holiday shopping (at least for you early birds-heehee...)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Stone Love

Oh about a month and a half ago, I made this soap that I called Indian Summer. It was okay, but as it cured, the beautiful jewel tones began to fade and ashen. I was not feeling it, but it was perfectly usable soap.

Before the makeover

Then a light bulb came on! Make a huge soap ball, but make it pretty. Let me tell you: I sliced this soap up with a potato peeler, then shaped it by hand to form the perfect orbs you see before you. After I let them set, I then dry-brushed them with various colors of mica to make them shine and glisten like aquamarines, citrines, and pink turquoise. Big difference huh?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Soaping With "A-Plum"

Really I'm not. I had a vision for how I wanted this soap to look, and this aint it. I wanted this soap to be a very dark berry, but duh, I didn't add any black oxide to my violet and red oxides, so I ended up with this. It's not bad, but not what I envisioned. The scent is a blend of plum and apricot, and I made it with rice bran, coconut, and palm oils with cocoa butter. I really need to order some soaping oils. I want to give my soaps some more "oomph." I haven't come up with a name yet, but I'm sure I'll think of something clever shortly. Meanwhile, I found some other cool soaps made with a plum fragrance courtesy of Art Fire.

Plum Spice Soap by Blissology

Plum Apricot Handmade Soap by Crazy K Bath & Body

Ginger Plum Soap by Deca Candle and Bath

Asian Plum by blushie

Sunday, October 4, 2009

New Glycerin Delights

So I've been playing around lately with melt and pour, and I've come up with a few goodies I'd like to share. Of course, they're all food-related. Would I be me if they weren't? Yeah, it's a slow news day...

Cupcake Soap Trio

Chocolate Bleeding Heart Soap

Amaretto Cake Bar

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Soy Wax-Not Just For Candles!

(Got a little oil on the packaging-it didn't arrive that way:)

Oh, about a few months ago, I did a swap with my blogging buddy Jackie of 2 Virgo Designs. She selected 3 of my lip lushes, and I chose something quite different: Soy Wax Lotion Tart with Emu Oil. Okay, that's not a typo. I did say soy wax lotion tart. I must admit, I prefer to use vegan products although I eat meats of all kind-but I've never eaten emu before, lol.

As you can see, the lotion tart comes packaged in a breakaway tart pack just like a traditional wax tart. The packaging calls it a warming hand lotion & room freshener, but I actually used mine as a softener for my heels, knees, and elbows because mine look like I've been walking on all fours-on concrete! I just break off a cube and rub. The tart melts into your skin, and for maximum penetration, I use mine while my skin is still slightly damp. The scent I chose is called Black Knight of Avalon. I can't describe it except to say Ooh La La! It's very sensual and mysterious. I can't stop smelling myself. I even use a little in my hair to give it a beautiful, subtle scent.

Here are the ingredients: soy wax, shea butter, cocoa butter, emu oil, and fragrance. Pure. Delightful. Sexy.

You can find 2 Virgo Designs on Etsy. Check it out and go score!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Rusted Daze

I am so excited to be in this Treasury! One, it's created by a man. That didn't come out quite right, but it's rare that you see a guy create a gorgeous, feminine treasury on Etsy (at least it is for me.) This Treasury was created by Yann Pendaries from Europe. He favorited my shop not too long ago, and I just found it completely odd. Why? Again, it's the man-thing. I don't really see men as liking my stuff, but I'm glad they do, cuz I love men! Heehee....Anyway, check it out. It's really beautiful!

(Click the pic)

Coincidentally, I was featured in another Treasury exactly one year ago today. Of course, it's long gone, but I thought that was really neat. Enjoy!

Yes, I Got Off My Lazy Butt And Made Some Soap!

Happy October! I'm so glad September is over because it's just a dreaded month for me (another day, another post.)

I finally made my first batch of soap in over a month, and I call it Chick Magnet. It's a blend of bay rum and lime essential oil, and I have to tell ya, I'd personally use this one myself even though it's very obviously masculine. I've always loved masculine scents. They're incredibly sexy and, well, manly. Anyway, here it is. I made this soap very simply with rice bran, palm, and coconut oils, along with cocoa butter.

I'll be back later this week with another soap reveal, and a product review!