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Showing posts from December, 2012

....and that's all she said.

I started this blog on a whim in 2009.  At the time, I thought the concept of a blog was fascinating and what better subject than soap, my all-consuming hobby turned business?  Much later I  summarized my reasons for starting this little blog.  From its beginning, I knew I wouldn't be doing this forever and I've been contemplating the end for the past 9 months.  But here at the end of the year, it's become clear to me that this is the time. Am I quitting the whole soaping gig?  Not hardly.  In fact, things are getting busier for me all the time; I need to streamline, prioritize and make some decisions regarding the future.  I have taken on some responsibilities that need my attention and am considering some opportunities unrelated to my soap business. I never expected to have a blog that had a steady group of followers--it's never failed to surprise me.  I appreciate all of you and as I've looked back over the last couple of years, I realize that I have made ma

What do you put in your soap? (part 2)

I wrote part 1 of "What do you put in your soap?" last August and somehow, I didn't post part 2.  Ooopsies.  So here it is. I focused my last post on the liquids I use in my soaps, specifically goat's milk.  In this one, I thought I would share my reasons for a few of the oils I use to make my soaps.  Every soaper has his own philosophy and this post is to inform and educate my customers. My absolute favorite oil in soap is olive oil.  It's one of the most traditional and well-loved of the soaping oils because of the exquisite soap it makes.  Among the other oils I like to use are coconut, almond, castor, and avocado.  And then there are those lovely butters, like cocoa and shea, that are oh, so nice.  I could write a post on the qualities and benefits of each of these ingredients but I shall focus on one category of soaping oils today, animal fats. Most of my recent soaps contain tallow (beef fat), although I am also fond of lard (pork fat) in soaps.  (I

How do you really know?

For all you soapmakers, how do you know that people like your soaps?  I mean, they may be in awe of your soapmaking abilities and gush over your endless creativity.  They may buy soaps from you in such quantities that you wonder if they experience most of life from within the confines of a bathtub. But don't you sometimes still have lingering doubts?  Do your customers just sense your desperate need for positive reinforcement?  Do they hope that their financial support will enable you to take a vacation and get away from the lye fumes that have obviously affected you?  Or do they simply feel pity for their friend who whiles away the time combining quantities of oils and liquids with stuff that cleans out drains and thinks it's the funnest thing ever? I thought I'd offer two foolproof indicators that your customers really, truly love your soaps. 1. They use it up.  Literally. One of my regular customers said that she needed soap because she was down to a sliver of her

Friendly Competition

Sad to say, my previous experiences with other soapers at craft shows haven't been all that memorable.  I hadn't experienced the comraderie that should exist between two people with the same passion; I've either been acknowledged with an aloof nod or I've gotten the vibe that I am Serious Competition to be Feared not Friended, in spite of my efforts to the contrary.  But last weekend I finally had a different experience.  Lisa of Lisa's Handcrafted Soaps, two tables away, noticed me first and came over to introduce herself.  Within minutes we were pals, discussing--as soapy pals do--lye volcanoes, soda ash and mold sizes, for starters.  We took turns checking out each other's stuff while the other one acted as a lookout in case a customer stopped by the unmanned table. Of course we had to do a soap swap.  Decisions are not usually easy for me.  My first choice was easy, however.  She makes liquid soap, something I've never tried.  It was one of my goals th

Laundry soap how-to

Here is a post for all of you who have asked me for a recipe to make your own laundry "detergent."  There are many versions of this recipe, but this is the one I use. Keep in mind that this homemade soap is different from commercial detergents, which contain optical brighteners to make clothes appear whiter and brighter as well as surfactants that provides lots of bubbles and suds.  On the other hand, this is soap, pure and simple, and doesn't contain any scents, colors or common skin irritants.  For me, the choice for homemade is a no-brainer.    The three ingredients: washing soda (not baking soda), borax, and a bar of laundry soap . I grate 1/2 the bar of soap with a cheese grater.  Some people use a food processor, but either way, it doesn't take long. Pour one quart of water into a pot and add the soap shavings.  Heat the water and stir until the soap dissolves. Add 1/2 c. of borax and 1/2 c. of washing soda; stirring to dissolve. When all