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Showing posts from November, 2012

Cobblestone soap

The bars that just didn't turn out like they looked in your head or the batches in which the scent disappeared about the same time you sliced it.  The ends of a loaf.  The crumbled edges.  The odd-sized scraps and the leftover bits.  If you've been soaping for any length of time, you have a shoebox full of oddball soaps.  If you're like me, you hate to callously throw out your hard work, so you just start a new shoebox.  I've done various things with my scraps over the years.  I've shredded them up for laundry and I've handed stacks to family.  I've shredded them for decoration in other bars and used scraps to make sugar scrub cubes.  Yet they continue to accumulate.  However, a family member reminded me of one of the most obvious uses for leftovers--cobblestone soap.  I have to admit that I've only ever made it once, in an attempt to salvage a batch of pureed cucumber soap.  I'm not sure what I did wrong, but the batch had the nasty stench of sapo

Christmas-y drinks--as soap

In the past, I've made a few Christmas-themed soaps amongst my collection.   I don't know what happened to me this year, but I've been making Christmas soaps like I can only do this once a year.  It probably helps that I'm struggling to keep up as they've been selling out so fast (best problem EVER!)  I am having so much fun thinking of designs and scent combinations; I'm already planning some of next Christmas' soaps. Ever since Laura of Glad Heart Soaps posted about making eggnog soap I had been thinking about it...even daydreaming about it.  I caved.  (I blame owe you, Laura!)  It's just as good as she described it--creamy, vanilla-y, with a bit of spice.  I thought I would add real eggnog to my batch but when I looked at the list of ingredients at the store, (when will I learn?) I decided to pass.  Instead of using spiced corn syrup, I used real heavy cream and real egg yolk and a sprinkling of nutmeg on top. I know you've seen this design

Farmer's market in review

My first summer vending at my local farmer's market ended a couple of weeks ago.  And it was an adventure!  Besides being fun, and profitable, it was also educational: While I've thought the recent encouragement of "shopping locally" was a good and even obvious concept, being immersed in it over the summer gave me a new perspective and appreciation for a very old tradition...a practice that should never have changed.  Through the market, I was introduced to another locally-owned business--a really lovely store-- Wild Flower Collectibles , who asked to carry my soaps.  I love supporting people, not businesses, if that makes sense. At a farmer's market, I can talk to the people from my own community that make and/or grow what they sell.  They have a knowledge and passion for their work that is non-existant in a retail store. And I learned so much besides this. I swapped recipes, gardening tips, heirloom beans, kombucha starters and stories galore with customers an

A Bramble Berry Christmas part 4

And now for the last two... Sleigh Ride   I liked this scent right off (and I love the name!) but it has steadily grown on me until this just might be my favorite scent of all, but it's so hard to pick an absolute favorite!  It's spicy, but it reminds me of mulled apple cider.  (I just checked the scent description to see what the listing said--orange, green apple, with mint and cloves--no wonder I guessed cider!)  Bramble Berry did a perfect job of noting any discoloration that would occur with some scents.  Since I had a heads-up this one would turn to a tan, I kept it simple, just adding a ultramarine violet swirl and a smattering of glitter.  Gingersnap   This one smells really and truly edible.  How edible?  By complete coincidence, I decided to make ginger crinkle cookies the same day that I planned to make this batch of soap.  When I was finished with my day's projects, two floors of my home smelled deliciously similar. 

A Bramble Berry Christmas part 3

I'm halfway done showing you my creations....I hope one will inspire you in your own Christmas soap projects! Here are the next three: Christmas Forest   Of all the scent in the collection, this one just shouts "Christmas" to me.  It's such a perfect pine-y scent and reminds me of those years when the family Christmas tree came from the "back yard" (the acres of woods) instead of a box in the garage (so shameful...).  I made embeds with green chrome oxide and used the same color as an in-the-pot swirl.  (Handy hint of the day: line your embeds up carefully so they'll actually show when you slice them.  Obvious, I know, but somehow I muffed it and this scuffed up slice has the only exposed tree of the batch.  But this way the tree will be a surprise part of the way through use, which will be kind of fun, too.) Christmas Spice   Most people that stop by my house inevitably wind up in my soap room sniffing my latest creations; it's kind of e

A Bramble Berry Christmas part 2

Continuing right along.... Frankincense and Myrrh Of the 10 scents in this collection, this is the one that I was most anxious to sniff upon arrival. What do resins fit for a King's birth smell like? They aren't exactly standard fragrances that everyone is familiar with.  (I've never come across frankincense deodorant or myrrh bubble bath anywhere, have you?) Really, the fragrance is very difficult to describe, but it is warm and exotic and maybe even mysterious.  I love having a more unpredictable Christmas scent in the mix. I used brick oxide and yellow oxide  with a touch of tangerine wow colorant.  I set some cardboard in my mold as a divider and poured the soap at very light trace on both sides of the divider before removing the cardboard.  I've been having some fun with this technique lately and I'm glad it worked again! Fresh Snow   Here is another fragrance that had me intrigued, but it's another goodie!  It's fresh and clean and almost

A Bramble Berry Christmas part 1

I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but when my mother and I first started soaping 10+ years ago, we ordered all our supplies from Bramble Berry and a company that's no longer in business.  When I returned to the craft a few years ago, I was glad to find our favorite fragrances still available.  But in spite of that, there are many fragrances I've never tried.  So my Givember project is trying out one of the fragrance sampler kits , specifically, the Christmas Cheer sampler kit .  I also received the neon colorant sampler pack   and the pigment sampler pack to have some fun coloring my Christmas-themed soaps. I love, love, love the whole Christmas season and got a head start on the festivities this year trying out this stellar collection of fragrances (which explains the endless loop of Christmas songs in my head for the past month!) Here are the first three of ten different soaps I made. Cranberry Sweet  This is the only scent from the sampler that I have tried