Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Evolution of Vanilla Almond Milk...Soap

Happy Week-After-Thankgiving-Black-Friday-Madness! Did you get pepper-sprayed? Or did you trample somebody trying to snatch up one of the three big-screen TVs in stock at Wal-Mart? teehee...

I have a love/hate relationship with vanilla-based fragrances, and if you're a soapmaker, then you know where I'm coming from. No matter how intricate your design or swirl may be, it all goes to sh... in the end because it ends up turning brown. Not just brown, but a deep, dark, murky, "protein stain" brown that borders on dog turds.You could avoid all that by using a stabilizer, but that stuff stinks all to be damned, and I really don't like using unnecessary additives for the sake of vanity-unless I'm putting on make up of course!

So here is my latest creation. I actually made this soap about a month ago, and I need to list it.It's called Vanilla Almond Milk because I blended French vanilla, bourbon vanilla, and almond marzipan altogether to get this nose hair-singeing aroma. I always go a little heavy on the almond when you literally only need a drop-that stuff is very powerful! Check out how it looked when I first sliced it. The edges are dog turd-brown (okay, I need to stop saying that or no one will want to buy it!) and the middle is a light tan.

Within hours, if that long, after I sliced these, they ended up looking like this-deep, dark, and delicious!

Have I mentioned how absolutely delicioso these smell? Yes, they do! The almond has really mellowed out, and it's like this buttery fusion of vanilla pound cake with slivered almonds on top. Those shavings are my lame attempt at slivered "soap" almonds.The milk in these is goat's milk. I really like goat's milk in my soaps now. All the hype about it creating these creamy, luxurious bars of soap is so true! Now, to take better pics and list these babies. I'm excited for you to try them!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

It's Small Business Saturday!!

Yay!!! For us small biz owners, it's Small Business Saturday everyday, tee hee, but today is the Black Friday of small business owners.So, what-you-offerin' huh? I'm offering 30% off EVERYTHING in my shop now through Sunday. Use code SHOPSMALL.

Feel free to post your deal in the comments, and happy shopping!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!


May your Thanksgiving be filled with joy, happiness, and remembrance of those less fortunate. Eat lots of turkey (or tofurkey....) and stuffing and pie and stuff. Then rest up on Friday. Then get ready to support all small businesses (like mine) on Small Business Saturday!

Stay blessed...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Where's The Beef? In This Soap!

 I know this post may turn some people off-particularly vegans, but I've never hidden the fact that I eat meat. I love meat, and I am of the philosophy that if you're going to kill something for its meat then you should use all parts of that animal. Didn't they do that in pre-historic and the covered wagon days? Oh well, I'm not here to wage a war between vegans and carnivores, so let's get on to the soap shall we?

This is my first time making tallow soap. What is tallow you may ask? Well, quite simply, it's cow fat that's been rendered (the process of removing all the gunk and meaty bits and converting beef fat into a usable resource). Think of it as cow lard for lack of a better comparison. To see the actual rendering in process, check out this post. I have no desire to learn to how to render tallow, so I just buy mine from here. First off, the tallow arrives in solid white form. Duh, it is fat after all, and the smell is a little off-putting like used cooking grease. But wait-it comes from a cow so what do you expect? Double duh...Once you scent your soap accordingly, there is no leftover fried chicken grease smell.

Using tallow in your soap recipe is supposed to help yield a hard, white bar. Well, I can't speak on the white part-mine look very average, but I can attest to the hard part. The loaf came out nice and firm, and I was actually able to slice it up the same day. This particular batch is scented in black raspberry & vanilla. I didn't get too fancy with the design because I didn't know what to expect. The oils I used were very basic-tallow, of course, soybean, palm, and coconut oils. I haven't decided if I'm going to sell these or use them as a deluxe sample with purchase but if you don't have a problem with using animal by-products in your soaps, I encourage you to give tallow a try.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Baby Food Soap? Yup!

As I slowly (and I mean slowly) transition from using less fragrance oils to more natural essential oils and additives in my soaps, I found this easy peasy, yet initially intimidating, recipe on Soap Queen's blog from Amanda at Lovin Soap. It's a carrot soap made with pureed carrots-baby food to be exact! Whoda thunk?!

This soap is completely unscented and I can't do the math to save my life, but at least 87% natural (minus the lye). This was also my first time using buttermilk, and I was really nervous because I didn't know what to expect. Because milk contains natural sugars, lye can scorch or burn the milk causing a stinky, ugly disaster in your finished product, so I froze it and let the heat from the lye naturally melt it. The baby food (pureed carrots and water only) was added to the lye mixture before mixing with the oils. The pictures don't really do the color of this soap justice, so I'll shut up and just show you the project in pictures from start to finish!

Frozen buttermilk
Doesn't have to be organic, but it's an added selling point:)

Baby food added to my lye mixture. Baby food stinks by the way...

Baby food lye mixture added to my soap oils

Set up and swirled to perfection before CPOP'ing (That's cold processed/oven processed)
Voila! A beautiful loaf of carrot soap:)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Trip Down Memory Lane-Part II

I was looking for some Christmas graphics on my 'puter when I stumbled across an old folder. I completely forgot that I used to make candles and I mean all kinds of candles! The picture quality is horrible (I was just starting out, so cut me a break:D), but the candles are so cute. I still do a few of these around the holidays for friends and co-workers, but for the most part, I've hung up my chandler gloves. Here a few pics:

Apple pies and tarts

A La Mode Pies

Fruit Bowls

Candy Jars

Cinnamon Roll Votives


Misc. Jar Candles

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Tarts

Cola and Strawberry Lemonade Gel Candles

Bananaberry and Strawberry Shortcakes


Friday, November 4, 2011

Crack Is Wack-Just Say NO!

Crack is bad. Both the drugs and the ones on your hands. And feet. And knees. And elbows. So I have the remedy. The rehab. The therapy. It's called Crack Is Wack, and it's the ultimate moisturizer. Personally, I could use this all year round because I have the driest skin, yet the oiliest face-go figure...

I wanted to make this product as simple and as natural as possible: mango and unrefined cocoa butters (plus a few other proprietary ingredients). This stuff melts upon contact and can be applied evenly and smoothly to both damp or dry skin. This is a completely new formulation, and I'm so happy with the outcome. In keeping with the "naturalness" of the product, I've decided to only scent them with essential oils. There's something about the plant-like aroma of the essential oils and the natural chocolate aroma of the cocoa butter that just sets these suckers off! I'll be adding more scents down the line, but to start, I'm offering two of my favorite combos:

Up first is my personal favorite: sweet orange and patchouli. Sweet orange is non phototoxic meaning you can apply this and go out sunning and funning. Your mood is automatically lifted and your spirits brightened. I cannot get enough of this fragrance combo. It's sweet and sexy, and with the chocolate-y aroma from the cocoa butter, I just wanna grab a spoon, scoop it out, and eat it!

Lastly, we have lavender and vanilla absolute.  Lavender, ya know, is very calming and relaxing. I keep one of these on my desk at work (yeah, I have a 9-5...) After using that crappy hand wash in the ladies room, my hands are screaming for relief. I packaged these in 4 oz tins. This is really a lot of product. You literally only need a little bit-unless you're a total flake like me...