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Last week I got a big box o’ goodies in the mail from Mountain Rose Herbs, so I decided to do some experimenting with some of them this week.  I ordered some brightly colored herb powders to try in my cold process soap, and also had a few other things already on hand that I had just not gotten around to trying out yet.  Well today was the day, so thought I would share my initial results.  This picture was taken right after mixing in the colors, so the soap is still raw.  I also decided to test 2 essential oils I haven’t used yet – anise and a root beer type blend. I’ll update in a few days once it’s hardened – can’t wait to see how these progress!

top row (from left):  beet root powder, ground tumeric, sandalwood red powder, bayberry root powder
middle row: spinach powder, alkanet root powder, calendula pedals, ground anatto seed
bottom row: yucca root powder, anise essential oil, root beer essential oil blend

I made a 1 pound batch of basic soap and split it into 11 different cups that were pre-measured with my herbs.  I mixed each one in and made sure to label the cups.  Just after mixing the colors in I was already surprised by a couple of them.  I ordered the beet root powder because of its super bright pink color (and didn’t bother to do any research to see what others have said about using it in soap), thinking it would make the perfect pink soap.  We’ll see what it does after it cures, but as of now it’s brown.  The red sandalwood, on the other hand, is a beautiful shade of burgundy, but the powder is orange.  I’m expecting them all to change once they’ve set for a while, so we’ll see how they turn out.  Stay tuned for part 2!

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So I think I’m finally getting the hang of this ‘swirl in the pot’ soap swirling thing.  I even managed to swirl 2 colors this time (this is where you ‘ohhh’ and ‘ahhh’).  This soap was actually inspired by a crafty friend, Stephanie of Robot Pop.  She has become one of my ‘testers’ and has given me several great ideas for new scents.  This is one that she suggested to me, down to the swirl.  I’m saving a bar for Stephanie for the great idea on this one – it smells fantastic!

chocolate cherry almond cold process soap, swirled with cocoa powder and rose clay

I’m going to make a bigger batch this week so it will be ready in October…I hope the swirls come out this nice on my big batch!

This morning my products were on TV for the very first time!  I’m so ridiculously excited about it…even though the mention was all of 10 seconds.  I’m participating in a craft show this weekend called the Dallas Flea, and they are doing a bunch of press to promote it, including TV appearances.  I sent some of my products to the event coordinator (Brittany, featured in the video), and she picked my stuff to include on this morning’s appearance!  My products are featured about half way through the video, which I encourage you to watch here.

I’ll be available for autographs all week 🙂

A few months ago my mom called me and said she was having a difficult time finding a good cuticle treatment that wasn’t filled with chemicals.  She was at the beauty store and started reading me the ingredients on some of the ‘natural’ brands, and they were filled with all kinds of unnecessary stuff.  I offered to make her a cuticle oil, and then began researching what to put in it.

She’s been using it for a while and said it works like a charm.  It also lasts forever.  Since it’s a mixture of concentrated vegetable and essential oils, a little goes a long way.  I gave her a 1 ounce bottle size, and I bet it will last her at least a year.  I decided it was time to share the cuticle oil love, so I made a small batch last week.  I bought the roller ball bottles from a fellow soaper who didn’t need them anymore, so I only have about 2 dozen of them.  They hold .35 ounces of oil.

Recipe  (this makes 1.4 ounces, filled 4 of my little bottles perfectly)

  • .75 oz olive oil
  • .2 oz almond oil
  • .2 oz jojoba oil
  • .1 oz vitamin E
  • .05 oz lavender EO
  • .05 oz rosemary EO
  • .05 oz lemon EO

Blend ingredients together and pour into containers.  Couldn’t be any easier!

I used my trusty aromatherapy book for guidance on the essential oils to use.  I chose these 3 because they are known to strengthen nails and are all antibacterial.

I haven’t decided if I’m going to sell these or not.  I have a show coming up this weekend (The Cowtown Indie Bazaar), so I may just make a bigger batch and see how they go over.

I’ve been trying (unsuccessfully) to get a swirled soap that I think looks good for a while.  Every time I do a test batch, something seems to go wrong and it doesn’t swirl.  It either traces too quickly and is too thick to swirl, or doesn’t get quite thick enough and just blends together.  I even made the mistake of trying to swirl a light color into a dark and the light just disappeared into the soap.  Oops.

Well here it is folks – my first successful swirl.  I like it – what do you think?

pine orange scented soap colored with Spirulina

This is a new soap I’m testing out that I may do for the holidays.  It’s scented with pine and orange, and colored with Spirulina powder.  When I first cut it, it was this beautiful bright green color.  After curing for about 3 weeks, it’s faded quite a bit to a brownish green.  I think the color works for a pine soap, but I’ll have to try something else for a true green.

I’ve been using ‘natural’ deodorant for several years now, and have tried lots of different brands.  For a year or so I have been using Lush’s aromaco deodorant – it smells like patchouli.  I’m getting a little tired of people telling me I smell like patchouli because of my deodorant (true story – LOTS of people have commented on how I smell like patchouli since I started using this).  It’s time for a change, and since I like to think I can make my own personal care products just a well as any of the major brands, I thought I’d try my hand at making my own deodorant. 

After reading several blogs, and watching lots of YouTube videos, by other peeps who make their own deo (it’s aluminum and preservative free, thank-you-very-much), I came up with my own recipe.  And here it is:

equal parts of the following:

  • beeswax
  • cocoa butter
  • baking soda
  • corn starch

2 parts coconut oil

Melt the oils together, blend in the baking soda and cornstarch, then add:

an antibacterial essential oil blend equal to about .15 oz.  I used the following, but there are LOTS of other EO’s that are antibacterial and could be used.  Next time I’m going to try a tea tree blend…this one I used smells like my lemongrass soap:

  • lemongrass
  • eucalyptus
  • lemon
  • bergamot
  • lavender

I tried to make this not too girly so that Joey could use it too.  I made 3 mini tubes (they each hold about 1 ounce) and we’ve each been using it for about a week now.  So far, so good, and it has been HOT here.  I mean, heat advisory, triple digit, don’t-go-outside-from-9am-9pm hot.  And my new deo is standing up pretty well to the heat.  And I like the way it feels on my skin better than the Lush deo I used to use…the cocoa butter makes it nice and soft.

You should give it a try 🙂

Tomorrow is the first Saturday of the month, which means it’s New Public Market Day in Fort Worth.  This is my favorite monthly market – I wish it were more often.  For all you Fort Worth locals that haven’t checked it out yet, it’s at the corner of Hulen and Camp Bowie in the parking lot of the ‘Into the Garden’ store.  Everything at this market is locally produced within 150 miles of Fort Worth.  There are usually at least 10 different vendors, plus lots of other local stuff on hand.  A great selection of local produce, baked goods, tamales (my favorite!!), meat, cheese, homemade pasta, olive oil, honey and lots of other goodies. 

I’ll be there with the other local vendors braving the heat from 8-1, or until sell-out.  Would love to see you there!

Here are a few new soaps I’m testing out right now.  I’m working on my fall and holiday scents, and have more ideas than I’ll be able to do, so only the best will make the cut.  Let’s start with the soaps I don’t have pics of yet (either because I just haven’t taken them, or I’m not quite happy with how it’s looking so am not going to show you 🙂

Last week I made a spiced cider soap, with apple cider instead of water mixed with the lye, and orange, cinnamon and clove essential oils.  I also added some brown sugar, which gave it a weird texture.  Not sure I’ll keep the brown sugar, but it does smell really good.

Earlier this week I made my second batch of a chai tea soap.  It has black tea as a base instead of water, half and half, honey, and an essential oil blend of cinnamon, cardamom, clove, ginger and black pepper.  Smells pretty good to me.

And here are my 2 favs so far:  triple mint and Mexican hot cocoa.  I made these on the same day, and the smells mixed together and made the most heavenly mint chocolate smell ever.  I’m already thinking of how to combine them.

Mexican hot cocoa soap

triple mint soap = peppermint, spearmint and wintergreen. Spirulina used for the green bottom.

Next up in the test kitchen:  an orange pine blend and a white chocolate almond soap.  Too many ideas!!

I’ve been busy sending samples to ‘YouTube Beauty Gurus’ lately.  Here’s another fabulous review of my stuff, this time by Kate on her YouTube channel about beauty products.  Isn’t she cute? (I’m not just saying that because she’s gushing about my products, promise).

2 weeks ago I attended the Lonestar Soap and Toiletries Soapmakers Seminar in Austin – it was great!  It was a full day of talking about soap, which I don’t get to do very often with other people who actually LIKE to talk about soap.  Lots of great info shared, including an experiment that I participated in about natural colorants.  Thought I would share my contributions to the experiment here, as well as a link to the entire collection. 

I made 2 batches for the experiment (all that participated made a 1 pound batch with the same recipe and no extra additives besides the selected colorants).  I have had success in the past with lemon and orange juices in my soaps, so decided for this experiment I would try pomegranate and fresh squeezed OJ. 

used fresh squeezed orange juice instead of water mixed with the lye

pomegranate juice (POM brand) mixed with the lye instead of water. This one reacted violently - won't be trying this one again 🙂

David Fisher, writer for About.com’s Soap and Candle section, took all of our soaps with him and made this wonderful gallery of all 34 soaps that were made by different Texas Soapmakers.  I bookmarked this page immediately, and have already started more experimenting!

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