Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year?!

I'm not big on celebrating New Year's...I like to quietly reflect on the outgoing year, and make a bunch of you-know-damn-well-you-aint-gon-stick-to-this resolutions-but no more! I am declaring 2011 the year of ME! I'm going to own it in every since of the word. I'm getting my finances in order, my health in order, and my business in order. I'm going to stop living in the past and start living in the NOW.

I salute all of you who take the time to visit this crazy blog. Have a safe and happy new year, and let's make 2011 the best year yet!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

And the Obsession Continues...

Here's a flick of my latest HP soap scented in Cafe Mocha. As much as I do not like to drink coffee, I love the smell of it (Hi Misty!) The mocha really balances the coffee nicely, and I added some coffee grounds to it for added texture and exfoliation. And that's about it....It's going to be a slow week, lol!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I’d like to interrupt my regularly-scheduled post to wish everyone who visits this page daily, weekly, monthly, or randomly a very Merry Christmas-even if you don’t celebrate or believe in “Christmas.” To me, Christmas isn’t about giving or receiving gifts (although I must admit it’s a nice perk), but it’s about celebrating the life of Christ-Jesus Christ. I believe in Him. I feel His presence around me daily and not just this time of year. It’s because of Him that I’ve endured through some of the most painful periods in my life, and I attribute that to my faith-not luck or wishful thinking or the love of family and friends, but my faith in the Lord. So, I leave you with this:
Every day and every year we live, we are given another chance to do something, say something, and/or be something that we didn’t do before.  When our actions are positive, unselfish, and for the benefit of others, we are rewarded tenfold.  So say a sincere prayer this Christmas for yourself and others, look back on 2010 as a learning experience to improve upon, and step out on faith in 2011 -- you will not fall or fail. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cool Hand Cuke Is Back!

When will I learn to never say never or only when...? You can tell by looking at this soap that it is hot processed (or possibly even re-batched, but I aint even going there...) When I learn something new, I tend to obsess over it til the newness wears off, and it hasn't yet.

This batch is scented in a very fresh-smelling cucumber and mint. It's a delightful soap fragrance and I'll probably add it to my spring/summer lotion scent lineup. I sprinkled a little gold glitter on top to jazz it up a little, but it really didn't need it. Up next-coffee soap-hot processed of course!

Only 4 more days til Christmas! I'm such a big kid:)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

It's The Little Things...

that make me happy like winning giveaways! Peep this gorgeous candle I received from Erica of The Bonnie Bath Co. The packaging, the candle, the scent...all lovely. I don't want to burn it! It's scented in Farmhouse Cider. Thanks Erica for the lovely candle!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hot Cinnamon Buns Coming Right Up!

Look at my buns! Aren't they hot? I made this entire batch of soap in my microwave!  I didn't change my regular formula at all-rice bran, avocado, palm, coconut, and castor oils. I used cocoa powder for the coloring and sprinkled cinnamon on top. The "icing" is actually white melt and pour soap. The good part about hot processed soap is it's practically ready to use. I'll let it cure for about 2 weeks before I test it.
I have never had the desire to make hot processed soap for many reasons:
  1. They're ugly (at least in my biased opinion)
  2. The process was intimidating to me.
  3. They're ugly.
  4. They're ugly.
  5. They're ugly...
Then one, little blog post changed my mind... and here's my journey in pictures:

Step 1: Prepare your soap as if you're making it the cold processed way only you want to bring your mix to a very, very, thick trace.

(Makes me crave banana pudding)

Step 2: Set microwave to 50% power and zap in 2 minute intervals until the soap begins to turn translucent. It was still very thick after the first 2 minutes. It takes a little elbow grease to really work it all together.

 (Excuse the poor lighting, but you can see that it's super-thick and mash potato-like.)

Step 3: You want to stir the mixture after each interval making sure it doesn't bubble over in the container. It took me four, 2 minute intervals before the soap begins to become translucent which is the tell-tale sign that it's ready to be colored, scented, and poured into the mold. It's advised that the soap should have a waxy consistency, and you should do the tongue-zap test. I broke down and did the zap and thankfully I didn't get zapped, so it was ready.

Step 4: I colored, scented, and literally plopped the thick mass into my mold. After about 2 hours, it was pretty much hardened, but I did let it set overnight before I sliced and iced it. Here's a final shot of the soap after I plopped it into the mold. It's very important that you plop it on the counter a couple of times to eliminate air pockets or you'll end up with gaping holes throughout your soap.

Gratuitous Shot: This is a pic of the bowl as I ran hot water in it to rinse it. Look at those bubbles!!!

So, in conclusion, while I've conquered my fear of hot process, I won't be doing this method very often. I just don't care for the look. I think I'll reserve it for my bakery-scented batches because I do kinda like the rustic appeal of a dessert-themed soap, and they aren't as ugly as I once thought they were. I'm now thinking of my next dessert-themed soap because even though I just said I won't be doing this method very often, I get kinda obsessed with new things....

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bombs Away!!!

I swore I'd never make or sell bath bombs because, well, I just did for some stupid reason. Oh, how the mighty have fallen because now I can't stop making them-or at least trying to make them! I use a full one each time I give my self a poor woman's pedicure (meaning I do it myself...), and they not only soften the water, but my winter-weary feets as well. The bombs in this pic are just practice ones. I can make a perfect bomb in a shaped mold, but when I use my traditional bath bomb mold, they don't hold well and they crumble. So I practice and practice, and with each day, I practice some more...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

In The Lab...

Well, technically not. I've always had this love/hate relationship with essential oils. They both fascinate and terrify me at the same time. The geek in me is captivated by the way these oils are produced and all the many uses and benefits just one essential oil generates. For example, did you know that sweet orange oil is an antibiotic, anticoagulant, antidepressant, antigenic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, bactericidal, calmative, carminative, cholagogue, choleretic, depurative, digestive, diuretic, fungicidal, humectant, hypotensive, sedative (nervous), stimulant (digestive and lymphatic), stomachic, and tonic? And the benefits of using it are said to help relieve the effects of anxiety, bronchitis, chills, colds, constipation, dull and oily skin conditions, dyspepsia, flu, helps eliminate toxins, intestinal gas, mouth ulcers, nervous obesity, palpitations, spasm, tension and stress, and water retention?*

I won't lie to you and tell you that I know what carminative and cholagogue mean. Okay, now I do. Carminative is a fancy term for gas reliever and cholagogue is an agent that promotes the discharge of bile from the liver and gallbladder. This is serious stuff and not to be taken or handled lightly. For that reason, I am studying like a chemistry student and taking meticulous notes-what can be tolerated by pregnant women, those with hypertension (like myself), pets...It's an exciting yet daunting venture, but I love to learn, and I cannot wait to start creating with essential oils!

*Taken from the product description from Mountain Rose Herbs