Saturday, November 28, 2015

Life goes on

My husband Jim passed away 9 days ago after a long, 5 year battle with cancer, so there's been so much to deal with besides grieving.

The kitchen is still a mess (old cabinets removed and drywall a mess after some initial plumbing work). The new cabinets have been ready for weeks, but I had to call a halt to everything when Jim's condition took a turn for the worse.

I took advantage of moving sale that Be Scented had, a got a new small order of micas and fragrance oils in the mail yesterday, so I'll get those dated and cataloged and put away after breakfast.

Our son and family surprised me with a visit yesterday after their drive to the mountains to play in the snow, and left with several bars of my Nag Champa soap. Out of the 3 batches I had curing, they all liked the Nag Champa and the Cucumber Melon scent the best.

The Energy Fragrance Oil in my latest soap, seems to have faded after a few weeks. The in the bottle smell was great as well as when the soap was freshly made. I think I used 0.7 in soap calc; but I'll have to double check that, It's a lovely scent, but not something I will use in the future if it's going to fade that much before the soap is even fully cured. That's why I don't like to make a big batch when trying out a new recipe or a new fragrance! I'll have to see what peoples experience is with using it in candles or room sprays, etc.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Hidden Feather Swirl

Here's my entry for the SMF October challenge (hidden feather swirl). It's my first time joining in for one of the challenges and I enjoyed the whole process, so I will definitely participate in the future.

I liked the idea of figuring out the colors that I thought would add some punch in such a small design, and then had to figure out how much batter to designate for each color. I think that was the hardest part of the challenge for me.

A week ago I got a watercolor set and used that to create the color palette for the soap. I wanted a light, lime kind of green for the background and dark green, red, yellowish orange, and red orange at the color for the top and design.

Hopefully later this week I'll have the time and energy to make another soap. We had out of town friends visiting the past 5 days, so I was spending time entertaining and enjoying their wonderful company. They are now on their way back to Western North Carolina.

I'm still dealing with some intestinal bug that just doesn't want to go away, which has been sapping my energy, so I'm just doing what I absolutely have to do each day.

In two to two and a half weeks our new kitchen cabinets are scheduled to be finished, and once they come in an tear out the old cabinets it's going to be a month or so before the kitchen if finished.

Once the cabinets are in, then they have to make a pattern of the counter tops for the corian  and two weeks later, they tell me,  once that's done the plumber and electrician will have to connect all the faucets, hot water dispenser, garburetor, etc. etc. I'll be lucky if the kitchen is finished by Thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Wonderful article on colorants for cold process soaps

Amy Warden's blog has a wonderful page of information on various colorants available for cold process soaps as well as best ways to mix and use them. I like that she gives amounts to use per cup of soap, since most of us don't use just one color in a soap most of the time and using PPO makes it mind boggling trying to figure out how much to use in those many small cups of batter we want to use in those lovely swirls.

On that page, she has a link to a list of Conservatorie Micas that many users have reported to be stable, (non morphing in Cold Process soap). Here is a link to that web page.

Happy soaping everyone! Time for me to pick out the colors I want to use in the SMF October Hidden Feather Swirl challenge. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Been having fun with my new wave mold. This one was colored with pink kaolin and scented with Nag Champa Fragrance Oil. The whole house smells wonderful!

Haven't had much time for soaping itself, but have spent a lot of evening, quiet rest time, creating new recipes and re-stocking my soap larder. All those orders are now here so I'll try to make another batch of soap this coming week. Probably won't do it today since I'm still getting over some nasty intestinal viral bug the past couple of days.

I have the colors picked out for the new soap which will have Mango Papaya fragrance oil. Love that scent and can't wait to see how it does in the soap. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Back in the soaping saddle I thought

So much has happened in the past two months that there has been no time to make soap. We moved to simplify our lives,which we are happy about; but we moved so fast we didn't have time to get rid of a lot of our stuff. So here we are in a small 100 year old Craftsmans cottage in Ashland, Oregon, that is less than half the size of the house we left. Needless to say, it's been a challenge in getting settled especially since we decided to do some remodeling while we were moving in. The cottage is darling, but sadly lacking in storage which has been an on going challenge. I still have bags of all my laundry room soaps, polishes, etc in the living room while we wait for the new combo laundry room/powder room to be finished. The garage and the attached small barn/workshop and basement are all filled to the max, so there will have to be a big garage sale in the fall hopefully.

I've given a lot of furniture and other things away and there is so much more that has to go in time.

On top of  everything else, I am going in for hip replacement surgery in a few days, so I'm frantically trying to finish planting so our daughter won't have to hand water all these potted plants. She's going to have enough to do taking care of Jim and I and our animals as well as keeping an eye on the garden without having to hand water everything in pots once or twice a day. Our last house had hardly any soil in the back yard, so most of my planting was done in pots, including trees.The gardener promised to come tomorrow to set up a dip system for my soon to be secret garden and all the hanging planters.

My little secret garden is shrouded in remay to keep our resident deer off my plants since the people can't come till August 8 to start on the 7 foot deer fence.

Our daughter is coming from Germany to take care of both of us for a couple of weeks and I thought I could find time to make another batch of Nag Champa soap for her, but I just don't think that is going to happen in the next few days since the sub contractors are all suddenly coming back to finish up the new laundry room/powder room. Fortunately I found one last bar of Nag Champa while I was unpacking yesterday so she'll at least have that one to take home. There is just way too much else to do in the garden and the house before surgery, as well as doctors visits and shopping for several weeks worth of food for the freezer since I won't be able to drive for six weeks, and our daughter let her U.S. drivers license expire. 

The property needed huge cleanup, tree pruning, new garden beds created, etc. The interior of the house needed re-painting, some new appliances, new fixtures, and on and on. I can't believe we've been here over a month since the time has gone by so fast. A lot has been accomplished but there is still so much more to do.

We didn't get air conditioning until last Thursday, and we've had weeks of temperatures in the 100's and high 90's, so I didn't get as much unpacking or gardening as I would have if the weather were kinder; but at least we had a small portable air conditioner in the bedroom thanks to a loan from one of the sub contractor, where we took refuge most of the time.

It was just this week that I was able to dig through the garage that the movers packed to the rafters, to find my second soap materials cart. There's a third one in there but it has so little in it that I'm leaving it in there for a while. My plan is to put these two main soap carts in the new laundry/powder room. I've already  designated part of a flat back cupboard in the kitchen for some of my oils and some other soaping things. There's a second, new fridge in the barn for the rest of my soaping butters and oils, so as soon as I'm physically able I should be able to make some soap. I wish the rest of the house was as organized as my soaping supplies!

Once that new room is finished I want to get started on redoing the kitchen. I've already gotten the bid for new cabinets; but have to find time in the next two days to go to the showroom to see what their version of Shaker cabinets looks like. I also have to go over the bid and get a few questions answered about flooring and see if he's been able to find a match for the current counter tops since we are adding a few more base cupboards. It will take about 8 weeks from the time I OK the bid, for kitchen cabinets to be ready, so I'm hoping there will be a couple of weeks, maybe more, before the cabinets are ready when I'm mobile enough to get some soap made. One can always hope.

Hope everyone is having a good, productive, soap making summer so far.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Make your own hanger swirl

For my first hanger swirl I just dug deep in my closet and found an older wire hanger which is a little thicker than the current ones I have. It worked OK but I wanted to have something thicker so the swirls wouldn't be so close, and I found some polyethelen tubing at Lowes hardware and just ran it through the wire after opening the wire tool up a bit, and then re-bent it. So now I have this to play with:

This is for my 2lb silicone mold and now I'll make one for my one lb silicone mold. I have a bunch of new base recipes I want to try and I just ordered a second one lb mold which will work great for testing new batches and new fragrances, etc.

I continue printing out my soap calc recipe sheets and have to get the rest of them into the plastic sheets and into the 3 ring binder some time today. 

I  bought another storage cart yesterday - just couldn't resist the bargain! We have a community garage sale this weekend, and when I took our dog Bodhi out for his first early walk yesterday morning, a block away a neighbor just put one of these carts. Mine looks just like this photo and it looks like it was never used. It was $15, so needless to say, I wasn't going to pass it up. Some sellers of this show a list price over $100 on Amazon. I am sure I will find a use for it down the line for more soaping or other things. The drawer aren't as deep as the other two I purchased, but I figured that I can always remove some of the drawers to give myself head space for taller items.

I haven't made soap since December and I'm really itching to get some made some time this week. First I have to get a couple of days to finish by spring planting. Also, I'd like to video tape the soaping session and have to figure out how to work my new video camera. It has a 200 page manual that you have to print out yourself, so with my first morning tea I went through the pdf file of the manual and printed out most of it. Now I have to figure out what kind of folder I can store it in!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Two are better than one and Be Scented tonight's sale notice

I loved this  rolling cart so much, I immediately ordered a second one!

The first one stores oxides, micas, glitters, natural and other powdered colorants. The second one is for tools and molds and a few other things. Now I just have to find the time and energy to make soap!

Now that the old fridge is in the garage and giving me extra space, I'm able to properly store my butters and some oils in there, freeing some space to tighten up my making supplies. My aim is to have the mobile carts and some kitchen storage for larger mixing pots and some of the longer storage oils,  The carts will live in my office until needed; but right now they're sitting in the kitchen area. I told my husband they'll stay there for a while. After all the Queen of England isn't expected to be visiting any time soon! :-)

My other project the past couple of days was to print out a lot of my Soap Calc recipes and get them in a three ring binder, and inside of plastic sheets to protect them. I also spent a lot of time using soap calc to create different batch sizes of some of the recipes, which is why it's taken a few days to get to this point. I love my new laser wireless printer!!!

Since my right hip is such a mess, and my right foot is still healing from a bad fall, I finally found the time for these sit down jobs, in between my normal household chores that require me to be standing.. I even manged to plant a couple of flower pots this week and will plant the last of the petunias out front this afternoon. Since I can't stand for long, I'm now starting to wonder if I can try to make a batch of soap this week, sitting down. It might take me all day but I think it will be doable.

I have a new, oval mold to go with the smaller oval guest mold. My husband likes the oval shape and loves the Nag Champa soap, so it's time to at least try to find the time to make some more bigger bars, since I'm down to my last guest sized bar!

Be has a sale starting tonight, so you may want to check out Jenn's site to find the exact time. She's a great gal, who shares so much on her Facebook pages and her you tube videos. There's 30% off select molds, and sale prices on colorants and maybe other things. Check it out. You must register if you want to order because the newly debuted site seems to empty your shopping cart if you're not registered and try to get back to it! You can find our more by checking her Be Scented group on Facebook. She ships fast and if you watch her videos on you tube, you will see that she tests her colors and fragrances and you get to see and hear her assessment of the them. So you don't have to deal with unexpected surprises like soap seizing, etc.If it accelerates, she tells you and also tells you if it's workable, ricing, seizing, etc. I really like this girl and she deserves our business.

She also has two other groups on Facebook and on you tube for her own soaps. In addition to Be Scented. on Facebook, she has a destash group of there where other soapers can sell soaping materials and tools they no longer want or need. Her own soap making site on you tube and Facebook is called A&N suds and such.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Great storage cart for soaping things

I'm so glad I bought this cart! I do love on line shopping. Thank you Amazon!

The drawers are 3" deep, which is the same depth of my 1 oz jars of colorants. The cart holds all my micas, oxides, botanical and clay colorants, silks, and glitters. I put the Titanium dioxide, silks, clays, botanical colorants and a few dried flowers in the top drawer,  yellows and oranges in one drawer,  reds, pinks and light lavender/lilac, in another, then  purples, blues and greens in the next one, and browns and blacks in it's own drawer, and glitters in the last drawer. And there's plenty of room leftover to add to all but the first drawer.

My husband is encouraging me to get another one and if I can make room in my office/meditation room for two of these, I will do that. I have a handyman coming out in a few days, hopefully, to help me re-position my office desk and big, recliner chair. If I can get rid of the big box of years of computer and audio and phone cables, in that office closet I think I might be able to fit one of these in there..

It would be nice to have another one for spatulas, gloves, whisks, pipettes, measuring spoons, little jars for mixing micas and other colorants, my smaller bottles of Fragrance and Essential oils, my embed and other low molds, etc. etc.When you don't have a basement or a large laundry room to use for soap making and tool storage, you have to get creative and mobile! My poor kitchen has already given up a lot of it's storage to soaping tools and ingredients, so I had to look for a way to spread out from there in a mobile way and this type of cart fits the bill.

This is a well made and easy to assemble unit, unlike the little laundry one I put together about a week ago. It needed a second set of hands; but I made do by leaning it against my bedroom dresser. What a pain and struggle that was; but it was only about $11.99 and is perfect as a soap drying cart, so I can't complain too much.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Solving storage

Found this Savoy cart on Amazon and it's going to be perfect to un-clutter one of my small soaping supplies cupboards in the kitchen. I'll just store it in my office and wheel it out as needed. This will hold all my glitters, micas and other colorants.

They are other carts like this with more drawers but those drawers were only 2 1/2" deep, not enough for my 3" hi jars. It was shipped out yesterday but they gave me a date from the 16 to 21st as possible arrival, so I may have to wait till next week to get this part of organizing done.

Since we don't have a basement to allocate for soaping, the kitchen is it, and storage is scattered all over the house and garage. Since we got a new fridge and put the old one in the garage, I now have that one to store a lot of my soaping oils, butters and  fragrances and essential oils. It's amazing how fast you can fill up another fridge!

My new oval, silicone soap mold arrived yesterday and I have to find a place for that in my mold cupboard which is getting pretty full lately.  Now that it has arrived,  it will be time to think about making  more Nag Champa soap which my husband and I both love. My first batch of Nag Champa was guest size ovals and my husband has decided that he prefers that shape.  I have to admit I also love the feel of it in my hand; but I would get bored just making ovals since I do like making swirled soaps too much.

Right now I just take a few days to get the house in order and get some garden chores done. We had a couple of weeks of house guests and visitors, new appliances delivered and installed, a new printer that I had to set up and a couple of other electronic gizmos to setup up. I still have to figure out the new digital video camera that I bought to do soaping videos for you tube. 

Now husband wants lunch and then I need to continue printing out my soap recipes from Soap Calc and find some plastic covers and a ring binder for them. When I see all the things I have to do and want to do every day, I can't understand other retired people who complain of boredom. I never seem to have enough hours in the day to do all the fun things there are to do when you're retired - like gardening, making soap, reading, taking long walks in the woods, etc. etc. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Pringles Soap connection

Pringles Potato Chips, 1.3 oz, (Pack of 36)Now if you don't know already, Pringles are not just for junk food lovers. Since I tasted these years ago when they first came out, and found that they do not look, nor taste like real potato chips and aren't even really potatoes, I felt no need to ever again put one of these in my mouth. So why am I posting a picture of a Pringles can on a soap blog!

Well, my son a while back brought a whole bag of munchies over to our house and among them was a can of Pringles; and around the same time I was reading how people were buying them just to use the can as a mold for round soaps. So this can of Pringles is now taking up space in my pantry until I can find the time to use it for making some of those round soaps. Of course I could always go to Lowe's or another hardware store and buy a piece of PVC pipe and use that but why bother when I have a free can of Pringles to do the job, and don't see myself making that many round soaps.

The soap supply cupboards in various places around the house are already overstuffed with soap molds soap cutters and other tools, colorants, fragrance oils, etc. etc. Am I the only soaper searching cupboards to discard old food to make room for soaping materials? Betcha I'm not! 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

One day one third off sale on Fragrance oils at Aztec today

I took advantage of the one day sale just to get 8 of their 1oz fragrance oils. You can only order 1 of any 1 oz fragrance at that price; but this was an opportunity to try their fragrances and to try some fragrances I've never used.

Since I don't have the energy or time right now to make soap, I've been taking advantage of some of the sales and special offerings I've found lately. I got a great tall, skinny silicone mold through a co-op type sale for only $18, and  from another on line co-op, got a great mix of glitter colors in a large sampler bag, to which were added a few free ones. I also placed an order for some colorants and other things from BeScented. I like her green spatulas that you see her using in her videos and I ordered both sizes of them. I ordered yesterday and they were shipped today. Love that service!

And today I ordered a 6 pack of some wide mouthed squeeze bottles from Amazon which I think will be very useful for some swirl patterns.

I've also gotten a couple of other small molds recently - one for 7/8" balls for embeds, and another for mini hearts for embeds, and a couple of other  single and triple molds for roses and mini roses.

Now I have to find space for these extra tools and supplies and the time to get them organized. I've had a few new plastic lock boxes sitting on the kitchen counter waiting for me to get the time to re-do my storage areas. I've been thinking that one of the hobby carts on wheels that Michaels and Amazon sell may be a purchase in the near future.

I just bought all new stainless steel kitchen appliances yesterday, and most thrilled about the new fridge which is a couple of cubic feet larger than our current one, which will give me extra room for some of my soaping oils and butters! LOL

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Free soap book

Amazon is offering a free soaping book "Smart Soap Making" for Kindle. 

I don't know if it's just today or will be available longer.   I have the hard copy of this good beginner book; but it was nice to download the free kindle version or my iPad.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Label making day

If you are interested in making your own labels, check out this you tube video by another soaper.  She shows just how easy it is to use the Avery labels web site software to create your own soap and other body product labels. Thanks Jennifer from BeScented for sharing this!

The only other soap related thing I did today was to unpack the last order from Wholesale Supplies that arrived late this afternoon. The soap planer I ordered from Etsy is en route and should be here late Wednesday, so I'm hoping to get some soap made this weekend.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Waiting Game

My last order from Wholesale Supplies should be here mid week. The soap planer I ordered from Etsy is also in the mail, so by the end of the week or weekend, I might be able to make soap again.

I had my endoscopy two days ago and it turns out last years surgery for the para esophageal hernia has caused a mini hiatal hernia. They stretched the lower end of my esophagus so hopefully that will alleviate the problem I had with the food going down and staying down. It's a heck of a way to diet!

Yesterday I finally packaged some of manly scented soaps and gave them to our son and friends. I just put them in the little soap, cellophane bags and closed the top with ribbon.  Now I had to make a soap for the women of the family and friends.

I also need to learn to make labels now that I've picked a name for my soaps. There's a good you tube video on that, by the gal from Be Scented, so I need to find a block of time to go back to the Avery site and create a basic label, I also need to buy some of the less expensive labels on Amazon that will work with the Avery software.

Right now there's laundry to fold and lunch dishes to wash.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Mini cupcake mold

After I opened the package of the muffin mold, I realized that it really wouldn't give me the cupcake ridges I would like for a cupcake soap, so I ordered the individual cupcakes molds and realized they would work better if I set them into the muffin mold.

They are a bit floppy and more stable in the more rigid muffin mold. Plus, they sit up a bit which I think will make them not only easier to fill, but also better spaced and easier for piping the top, soap icing, portion. Now I just have to find time to make all these soaps I have in mind, and today won't be one of those days.

My prescription glasses are ready at Costco and I need a stop at the grocery store to pick up a few things for tonight's Thai chicken wraps. And then there's an iPad that has decided to lose all my email - another problem to fix!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Hanger swirl

This was my first hanger swirl which is now on the last week and a half of curing. I ran out of the special amber fragrance oil and had to add a little bit of something else. It stilled smelled good but after curing another month or more the scent has changed and smells even better. This was made for the men in the family, but I will definitely keep one for myself. At some point today I'll test a scrap end just to see how I like my new base recipe.

Wholesale supplies is having a sale on molds, just for today, so I ordered the smallest ball mold along with enough other things to get the free shipping and a free sample. 

There won't be any soap making today because we have to take down our Christmas tree, and I have to re-organize things in the guest/soap curing room. We had a new long dresser delivered yesterday and now I have to get all the clothes off the bed and back into the dresser, and get the top of the dresser covered and get my soap rack and soap on there.

Tonight the Oregon Ducks are playing for the championship so most us Oregonians,  from 5:30 on, are going to be glued to the TV, including myself who isn't a huge football fan, other than the half time shows and Superbowl commercials!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Modified feathered mantra swirl soap

Welcome to my new blog! It's been a busy few months with family visits, the holidays and my new venture into soap making. Here's a sample of my latest soap. It's called a modified mantra feathered swirl.
These are unscented due to a mishap with the lavender essential oil that toppled over at the most inopportune time, without me realizing that it was spilled. When I saw the tiny empty mis en place glass bowl, I assumed I had already put it into the batch. It was only while I was doing the after soaping cleanup that I realized it had spilled. My kitchen granite counter top was smelling delicious for quite a while because it had seeped through the several layers of protective paper I place there before soaping.

These are now curing along with a couple of earlier soaps. Right now I'm waiting for 3 more soap orders to arrive so I can make more batches. The first one will be a repeat of this one, except this time it will have the lavender fragrance added. Lesson learned! This time the fragrance is going to be put in a heavier little cup with a wider base.

My plan is to have some soaps and maybe some balms and body creams as well, for sale on Etsy by late spring. After making, Cold Process soaps have to age 6-8 weeks or more.  I have so many ideas for color combinations and some amazing fragrance oils for various tastes - sweet, spicy, floral, woodsy, etc. Stay tuned!