Archive | March 2013

Friday Night Soaping Madness

Freedom!! Fixer took Bean to a Daddy Daughter Dance Friday night, which left me and the Lilliputian home to work on projects for the shop.  I knocked out a batch of fir soap and a test run of beeswax tablets for scenting drawers and closets. This summer I think I’d like to test them out for a car freshener. I’m a little worried about it right now because I wouldn’t want to have a big melty mess in my car. I bet that lavender fragrance would sure smell good in a warm car.  So the ‘Putian and I turned on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (cause that makes me mother of the year, but she’s 7 months old so she won’t remember) and got to work.

Wax Tablet

Here’s the beeswax tablet. I think I need to clean the lavender a little bit better next time. The top looks pretty good, but the shiny side is looking a little scrappy.  I’m not really sure how you’d clean lavender bud better on any sort of scale, but I bet I can figure it out. I think we’re going to try out some wax additives to make the lavender tablets to make them feel a little smoother, harder and a bit less sticky. I’m also going to try making them in a silicon mold so that they won’t have the funny ridge on the edge.

I got that project going while I was waiting for my oils to cool.  I often get all excited and start messing and mixing before things are cooled off and that just leads to disaster.  That last batch of fir soap didn’t move very fast at all. I added more fragrance oil to the soap and thought that might accelerate things, but instead the whole project just slowed to nearly a stop. I thought I might burn up the motor on my stick blender and still nothing. Eventually, things started to move along. I managed to get two layers of titanium dioxide and one colored with spirulina.  I’ve not tried it before, but I thought it would make a good combination with the fir fragrance.  Here’s what it looked like getting the second layer.

Poured green fir soap

I wasn’t able to get the texture I wanted on the top of this loaf at first, so I stuck it in the fridge to ward off gel and went back later to texture the top. It’s not as beautiful as some I’ve seen, but they’re getting better.

Poured fir soap

FIr loaf with textured top

Here is a picture of the cut soap. I think that the hanger swirl turned out well and since I soaped colder, the fragrance appears to be holding better. The fragrance is going to hold better than the first batch. I expect it to be listed on Etsy in the middle of April.


Bath salts and Fir Soap

I can’t wait to get soaping this weekend! A month or so ago I made Fixer some fir needle soap with green clay and poppy seeds. He’s been using it for a couple of days and proclaims the scent is faint, he doesn’t like the poppy seeds but the soap feels nice. It was my first experiment with using clay and I was trying to for an ombre effect, so that didn’t quite go like I wanted it to either.  So this morning I tried out the soap and it does indeed lather pleasantly.  I personally like the poppy seeds as an exfoliant, but I feel like it needs to be a thicker layer on the bottom of the bar, rather than a sprinkle on the top for color.   I’m going to give the fragrance oil one more shot at a higher level and maybe not CPOP the batch because I think I may have cooked out the oil a little bit. Nothing like helping yourself out, right?

But the really cool part of the whole experiment is the base recipe itself.  I’ve been using a starter recipe that I was given that works pretty well, has a nice hard bar, lathers nicely, etc. The problem is that it contains hydrogenated oil (shortening), which keeps the cost of the recipe down, but I think you’ll agree just isn’t very…upscale.  So for Fixer’s soap, I cooked up a recipe that has olive, palm, coconut, castor and jojoba oils in it. It worked great. Even soaping a little warm (because I get all excited and impatient), it wasn’t a super fast mover, so I had some time to make some texture on the top.  I think it might be a good one to try that hanger swirl on that I’ve been dreaming about.

I’ve also recently had a delivery of hemp oil and liquid silk, so if I can manage a nice swirl, I might put a little of both of those in the pot just to see what I get.

The other thing that I’ve been up to is bath salts. I just scored a pile of fragrance oils and some new colorants, so I experimented with bath salts last night. Epsom salt, sea salt, kaolin clay, glycerine, a little bit of mica, a little toot of color and then we hopped in the tub to test it out. I’ve gotta say, I think the glycerine was a winner. My skin is feeling pretty moist this morning even after my hot, hot shower and no lotion. I’m a little worried about it making the salts clumpy, so I need to figure out how to test that.

This weekend we’re off to Trinidad Lavender to see Scott about our starts and maybe, if we’re really organized get a run at our irrigation project. Next week we start with the paperwork and software purchases.  Pheew! A life of it’s own…

Soap on a Rope and Lavender Fields

Hi there! I bet you thought I’d gone. I guess I should have warned you. I was on vacation. In Hawaii.  With the kids. Which isn’t.  Isn’t a vacation, I mean. It was lovely, but kids are a lot of work, especially when they’re little. And barfing. Three times a day. Until we got on the plane to come home.  Cool, right? At least she stopped. That gives me an idea: End of my Rope Soap.  What would that smell like? Wine?

Me and Bean on the Beach Hanalei Bay

Bean on the Beach


So this soaping thing is taking on a life of it’s own.  Right before we left on vacation lovely Miss Betsy at Tangles mentioned another business owner in town might be interested in carrying my soaps and stuff. So of course I scooted right over with some samples to show her, thinking that I might have a couple of months to get some additional inventory going, since I’ve been soaping in a leisurely sort of way.  Not so much. I need to have enough stuff made and labeled to stock a display in a little less than three weeks. Here’s my list:

Bath salts in 3-4 flavors

Bath tea



Bulk lavender buds

Minute Manicures

Owie Salve

Lotion bars

Lip balm

More soap

Neck wraps

Scented pillows?

It’s a lot to do, right? Am I crazy? I think maybe a little bit.

This is actually great news, but also very scary since I hadn’t really gotten my labels all squared away yet.  Like I said, it’s got a life of it’s own these days. I really believe that when things are meant to be, everything lines up just right.  I guess I was hoping for a little more space, but I think I can make it work.

So on the way home, we stopped at Apple Annie’s in Cashmere and picked up a few treasures for the display, but I need a really big hutch or credenza or buffet or something to really make this work. I’m pillaging apothecary jars and baskets out of my house, but boy, I really need to get going on this.  Anything in particular you’d like to see my offer?

Also, our first stack of irrigation supplies were delivered right before we left and our first flight of lavender plants were ordered. It’s going to be a busy spring.

Fixer has to get going on a chicken house too.