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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Tabletop

As usual it’s the wee hours and my mind is going a mile a minute. *grin* I’ve tried to quiet it a bit with a good book and catching up on a stack of catalogs I’ve received in the last few days. (Sure I love to shop from home, but I don’t need four in one day. Lol. I’m more likely to spurge one at a time. *smile*) Anyway, while looking at Oriental Trading’s party catalog, where I usually find cute packaging for soaps and combos, I saw a tiered stand and it got my mind flying again. I’m thinking that a tiered stand, like for desserts and dainty foods, might be a neat way to display soaps, especially the bakery scented items. What do you think? I noticed last year that few actually looked in my baskets at any of the soaps and have been planning my table set up to include a more browser friendly set up. The stand would take up the same amount of space while also displaying them pretty nicely I think. I might just take advantage of the early holiday sales and look for one tomorrow. I love a legitimate excuse to shop anyway. *grin* If you have any display ideas beside my slotted organizer and baskets, please let me know. I love input and ideas!

Amusing myself

I don’t mention it much on here but I have a chronic, disabling illness that I have to work around in order to work on my creations. Usually I only work on things on the few “good days” or when I have a “good” hour. Yesterday I was itching to work on soaps, especially with the craft sale in just a few weeks and I’m addicted to the feeling that I’ve accomplished something. Lol.

Anyway, I got in and decided to finish making a second batch of the sandwich cookie soaps. I had poured the wafers a few days previously, plus I had left over “frosting” from the last batch that I just had to figure out how to make reusable. I had thought out a few techniques that might work for reusing it and happily the first one worked perfectly. I was all gloved up, wafers lined up like little soldiers beside the scale, had the first wafer on the scale, and the piping gun in my hand when I noticed a tremor starting up. My good time frame was up just from the prep work. I knew I had about 5 minutes for the frosting to stay soft enough to pipe though, so I started to frost the bottom wafers. I try to get exactly .25 oz of frosting on each wafer. Holy smokes! The more I did and tried to stay steady the more pronounced my tremor got. About halfway through I was cracking up because they were starting to look like a drunk person had put the sandwiches together. *grin* Some went a bit over the amount, frosting ended up all over the place, and I shook so hard at the end that one almost flew into the mixer’s bowl! Rofl. Thankfully I got them all done, even if they look a bit more whimsical than realistic this round, but had a dash bit more frosting in the tube. As little as there was I wasn’t going to store it and try to freshen up to reuse yet again, so I grabbed a mold really quick and piped the frosting into two gingerbread men. I figure they’ll do a soft set and I’ll just enjoy the odd little soaps. They’re still incredibly mushy today (maybe because they don’t have as much surface exposed to the air??), but what cracked me up is how rough they look. Hopefully you get a chuckle out of the following picture too. ๐Ÿ™‚

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I’m a bit chatty today

Please excuse me for being chatty today. *grin*

I was able to make some bubble washes and another batch of sandwich cookie soaps today. I made two new bubble washes. * happy dance* The first was Banana Cream Pie. Oh man!! I always forget how amazing that FO is and find it mouthwatering every time. I look forward to seeing if it sells. If not I’ll have to use it. Oh darn. *grin* The other scent is a custom that I decided to experiment on. I blended the Crackling Firewood FO that I never figured out what to do with and Mistletoe FO. The wood scents in Mistletoe are sexy anyway, but it’s amazing how a bit of the Firewood really amped it up. I plan to experiment with this a bit more with a few more layers such as vetiver and either musk or leather to finish rounding out the scent of an ideal, rugged man. *sassy grin* I mean what is sexier than a man in the woods, chopping wood or hiking, shirt stripped off while sweat glistens, and his spicy, sexy scent making you want to give him other chores… Lol. Yep, I keep trying to make a scent that fits the image. *wink*

I also extensively tested the bath biscuits like I mentioned earlier. Small scale was very different than full! The mint chocolate smells great, but I’m quite into textures and looks, so this experiment failed. The first biscuit I put directly under the stream and it dissolved pretty well. I added several others and after a bit I admit that I wrinkled my nose. Lol. Have you ever tried to dunk a cookie in milk and accidentally dropped it? They get all mushy and start to dissolve, kind of like (caution – gross simile here) vomit. Sadly enough that’s how these ended up looking after awhile. I definitely won’t be selling these. My skin feels so silky though. *sad smile* Oh well. I think I may grind them down and maybe that’ll solve the gross parts to this, plus the crumbling won’t matter then. *crossing fingers*

Anyway, I’m going to go finish a mini marathon of Once Upon a Time and do some paperwork. Have a great evening!

Sunset Stroll Followup

I got some awesome news today that I’m so happy about. Do you remember the Sunset Stroll back in September that I donated a basket for their raffle and last year made ribbon soaps for the swag bags? Due to the success of last month’s event they will be writing a check to The Race Against Breast Cancer for $4500! That is so awesome, especially for a small town in rural Kansas! I had to share such wonderful news. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m an FO Addict

Hi. My name is Georgia and I’m an addict. I think I need a support group to help me stop buying FOs. Lol. It definitely isn’t an addiction I ever could have predicted. *grin*

I’ve been needing to order a few supplies but waited for a big sale. Last night I noticed that there was a really nice sale on my wholesaler’s site and I ended up spending an hour oohing and ahhing over the sale items. Lol. I tried super hard to keep a little distracted when I read the blurbs about new and sale scents, but I have in on one holiday scent just because I don’t have anything with a similar scent profile. It’s mostly baking spices commonly associated with Christmas and rum. I’m betting that combo ends up smelling like eggnog, but we’ll see. I love that scent profile and think it’d be fantastic as a layer in another scent. I’m so excited. *grin*

I was pretty happy to find a great price on itty bitty jars with attached lids. I think they’ll be perfect for holding samples at events and people won’t have to struggle to get goat’s milk lotion out of a bottle to try. They’re like a quarter ounce container if I remember right and actually pretty adorable. *goofy smile* You know you’ve gotten to an odd point in your life when you find jars adorable…

To too it off I found nearly perfect shrink wrap bags for the tree soaps. *happy dance* I’m really excited since they’re such an odd measurement and the only thing that will look right is shrink wrap. I got 100 of them for $4 I think. Wow! I’ll make some more trees now that I know I’ll be able to package them. I’ve put them off because it seemed really stupid to keep making something I couldn’t sell just because I have a lot of fun making them. *grin*

The wholesaler had mica powders on sale too, so I’m going to give them a whirl. I experimented with a powder oxide pigment when I made the sandwich cookie soaps and really liked that the colors came out richer. I know that the micas will have a shimmer to them, but in theory they will lose the shimmer if used in white soap. I figure that it’d be a fun new addition to my options, especially now that I’ve been dabbling in glitter soaps. At a little over a dollar each color sample I figured it was a great time to try them.

**In the meantime I did some research online to see if there was a part of the bath cookie recipe that didn’t make it to the ebook. I found a site where several crafters had tried it and also had troubles. Apparently there’s a bit of trouble with them dissolving and crumbling. There are a few tips they discovered for improving (with a note to flatten the scoops if you’re making them like cookies – it wasn’t just me that got puzzled by drop biscuit looking ones lol). I will try out several of the “biscuits” tonight instead of the mini test I had done and see if I even want to try to fix the recipe. It’s always disappointing to have something you’ve been looking forward to turn out pretty underwhelming. I’ll swallow my pride some more and let you know how the full test goes. *grin* Happy Friday!

Bath biscuits

During some of my insomnia fueled research binges I found a cheap ebook for homemade spa and bath items. At $0.99 for some new ideas I was game. I’ve looked things over and set a few aside to experiment with. I decided tonight that I’d give the “bath cookies” recipe a spin with a few changes.

As you know I prefer sweet almond oil (SAO) as a carrier because it is good for the skin, has great spreadability, soothes the skin without clogging pores, and the silkiness lasts up to 9 hours. I substituted the SAO in place of the oils they used in their recipe and changed from Bergamot EO to a more indulgent winter combo of Chocolate FO and Purely Peppermint FO (mint cocoa – yum!!).

At first the blend seemed really neat and had an interesting consistency. To try and keep things even I used a cookie scoop, although I had to experiment for awhile to consistently scoop about .70 ounces each time (I developed a fun little twist and press method that somehow helped me be more consistent). I baked them and realized while the first batch of 15 were going that I was making a whole lot more than the recipe said it would yield. To be fair to myself the recipe was pretty dag on general with no tips on packaging, expected consistencies, how it would spread, etc. Anyway, with the cookie scooper I ended up with 40 “cookies”. I admit that I sat in a chair and stared at the first baked batch for awhile before continuing. Lol. First off they certainly did not brown at all, let alone the lightly that the recipe said to look for. Do not overbake was stressed, so once they baked almost twice as long as called for I said screw the looks. *grin* The second surprise is that they didn’t spread in the least. Since they were called a cookie I expected them to melt down into a tiny cookie no different than a standard cookie, since several of the base ingredients are the same. As you’ll see in the pictures they didn’t change in the slightest except hardening. I think mine are a little more like drop biscuits. Lol. Finally I was a little surprised to go to scoop up the second batch and they started falling apart. I poked around in the batter a bit and noticed that the interesting foam-like texture had faded into an almost streusel in the 8 minutes of baking and letting the first batch cool for a few to remove. After a little quick thinking I pulled the SAO back out and added a teaspoon, mixed it in as best as I could, and then added a second. I made the remaining mixture into a big clump to hold the moisture, but I still had a lot of problems with the biscuits crumbling as I ejected them from the scoop. Meh!

I will experiment with a few changes tomorrow hopefully and first off I will make the scoops way bigger. I’ll also try to bake as many as possible at once. If there is some mixture leftover from the first baking I’ll put Saran over it to hold the moisture as much as possible. In the meantime I’m not totally upset over these since they’re kind of fun, but I’m definitely disappointed. I soaked a bit to test and they dissolve fairly quickly. They leave a light silkiness and barely any scent; both should increase with longer exposure such as a full bath with them. I started out hoping they wouldn’t be like a homemade dog biscuit and I succeeded at that, so I’m calling this a half win. *grin* I’m attaching a few pictures for fun.

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A bit of late night woes

I had an “interesting” work time and it left me a bit disgruntled. Lol. I made a bunch of Goat’s Milk lotions, but while I was preparing containers, mixing FOs, and writing down the recipes I ended up doing something weird to my bubble wash. I still haven’t figured out exactly what went wrong. I figure it got a bit too warm without stirring often, since I was distracted. The really weird thing is that it made a film in the middle that would not melt, like it was cold and setting up. I let it cool and it is in the same state, so I put some Saran on the pan while I think about it. Thankfully I wasn’t going to make very much, so if it’s a lost cause I’m not out too much. I’m still annoyed and frustrated with myself, and I’m irritated that I’m still puzzling over how to fix it. Lol.

In addition I blended up the maple pumpkin lotion that I was considering the other night. It didn’t turn out the way that I wanted, that’s for sure. It came out as a softly spiced pumpkin scent, which is probably what I’ll name it (minus “scent” of course). I really wanted that strongly sweet note and it’s actually surprising that it came out so soft. The new FO limitations have really weakened some scent profiles unfortunately, although thankfully I have plenty of them that were all ready within the new guidelines. I like the spicy note to this compared to the buttercream and creamy pumpkin pie profile of On a (Pumpkin) Roll.

I had to work fast to fix a few issues that came up from trying to do too much multitasking. The lotion got a mite more warm than I usually let it and although the emulsifying wax incorporated better than usual everything else had issues. Lol. When I added the FOs the oil tried to separate and some of the components of the lotion did too. I had the brilliant idea that my handheld immersion blender would work pretty well at blending these layers together. In theory it is a good idea and would work well. However…after lotion exploded across my cabinets and I had to wipe it off of my face (*embarrassed smile*) I realized that it doesn’t work well with small portions. Rofl. I don’t often find myself wiping lotion from my glasses, so it made me pause for a few. I went back to my whisk and aggravated the sore muscles (I’m enjoying table tennis on the move P3 a bit too much lately and keep overdoing it), but I got the layers incorporated a bit. As I continued to work and the portions began to cool I was startled to see two tones to the lotions. Lol. I ended up with a liquid section on the bottom with separate oils and a perfect top. *rolling eyes* Back to the whisk, although I admit that I’ve never whisked product inside of the small 4 oz jars. *cracking up*

Despite my hour of snafus I made a few awesome lotions and I’m really close to being fully prepared for the craft event in a couple of weeks. I made a few jars of A Moment in Time (AMT for short) and Arabian Nights. Both have spicy profiles which are a nice change from the food and delicate scents I often work with. AMT has a complicated profile, as I’ve written about before, but it fits in with the holidays well because of some of the deeper notes. I can’t decide if it’s more like an old school Avon perfume or more holiday. I seem to get a different profile with each sniff. Lol. We will see how it does, but I really do like it. My favorite of all that I worked with tonight was definitely Arabian Nights. *happy sigh* It’s so unlike anything else I have and is so exotic. It’s perfect for those days when you need that extra boost to help you feel like a total femme fatale. *grin* I wouldn’t use it as my daily scent, but it really feels special whenever I test it.

Top it off I tried to package the tree soaps. The press & seal version of Saran has a more frosted look, so that got scrapped. The trees totally eclipsed my soap bags. I tried a cello treat bag and although the trees fit really well in them with tons of room to spare for tying off the patterns detract from the paint job that I really want to show off. My salts cello cones would work well except they’d be tied off at the bottom which would look rather odd. Until I figure it out I have them in a gallon storage bag, so at least some of the pressure I’m putting on myself has eased.

Did I mention that I forgot to write down how many soaps I ended up with when I made the recent batch of mechanic soaps? I sat down to do all of the figures so that I could tag the packages, and post on my site, but I can’t remember if I did a single or double batch. Lol. That much variation makes for massively different prices, so I’ll make another batch. With all of the additives I can’t just go off of how much soap is in them. *rolling eyes at my forgetfulness* Did you know that you can get a headache from facepalming too much? Lol.

Anyway…I hope you have a less complicated time with your projects and enjoyed a few smiles with me over the unexpected troubles I had. *grin* I still haven’t figured out how to package those soaps though. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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