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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Like a Duck to Water

I’m so excited over a soap that I can’t wait until later in the day (it’s almost 2:30 AM here lol). I had a short boost of energy resulting from getting out today and took advantage of it to experiment (again) on a duck soap.

Larry liked the wet look to the 4th ducky in the batch I experimented on a few days ago. We both agreed that the shredded soap just doesn’t fit my mad scientist personality. He asked me why couldn’t I do the extra pour around the soap and then turn it upside down, using that as the duck cupping side. I took that idea a bit further and used wax paper in shapes to let me control the soap a little better. I was able to get the “water” soap to look like it was really splashing and I did a second pour with different crinkles in the paper, so there are some almost lacy-like edges to some of the “water”. *smile so wide I may crack my lips* A little shred made it into my opal-like soap round, so there’s a tiny pink spot on the inside, but that’s covered by the ducky. The first pic is the first water splash (and you can see that annoying little accident), the second is at half of the second stage, and the third is the cutie patootie result, sitting on my hand. The skin tone helped the ice blue water really pop in the pic, so I am even happier. If people like these I think I can do a few “At the Fair” variations of duck soaps to go in the Easter and summer kid combos.

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I had to share a picture of the baskets I found today, too. Usually I use wicker and what not, but I couldn’t resist these with summer coming. I think they’ll be a fun alternative and the small ones would be really cute little catch-alls. I put in a 4 oz bottle to give an idea of their dimensions. The back one is a lot bigger, but looked better photographed on the side instead of sitting like the others.

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Worms in Dirt Research

After going to a doctor’s appointment in the city we decided to stop in a sporting good’s shop nearby to see of they had any untreated plastic worms that I could use in my soap. I admit that I got kind of upset when I read some of these packages. Did you know that some use lead? We’ve come so far, yet we’re still using a carcinogen to bait our food? *shaking head* I truly never knew. When I lived in CA Gramps swore by his Rapalas when fishing at the lake, so I’ve never even touched one of these worms. Lol. (Real worms and shrimp yes, but I seriously try to block that out. *dramatic shudder* I’m that kind of girl that said sorry to every fish I caught that we kept. Lol.) Anyway, after reading that and so many with other fun chemicals I’m really reluctant to try any that don’t mention additives. Who knows what may be on or in those?! If I can’t guarantee to my customers that they’re chemical free, can I really stand by my “pampering with natural benefits”? Granted this is my overly fun soap for kids – a brown speckled clear soap scented with Dirt FO and fake worms in them, so I’m not really working the benefits corner, but at least there will be beneficial components. I want to be able to stand by every ingredient in every item, even the whimsical stuff.

Since I was rather bummed I decided to limp through some retail therapy at a Dollar Tree and see if they had any fun toys to embed. Um, have you ever looked at their toy creatures? Freaky!! Absolutely creepy. *cracking up* A plastic snake shouldn’t be a big deal – I grew up raising spiders and frogs, so come on – but I literally wiped my hand on my jeans after touching those. I can’t figure out why they creeped me out, but the rational part of me is having a giggle fest over it, so I doubt I’ll be able to forget about it anytime soon. *grin*

I found a place that sells the molds to make your own plastic worms for bait. I in theory could make soap worms then. However, is it really that spectacular of an idea to go to that much work? I admit that most of my soaps never sell. My poor husband has used everything from banana cream “cakes” to watermelon dinosaurs and cars. *grin* He’s a good sport, except when the taxes have been done and he sees what a loss my business has been. Ouch. So I have to be more conservative with my experiments and have been encouraged *wink* to try to make soaps that might be big sellers. Um, I usually aim for that, but…lol. Now I have a merry-go-round in my mind of how much would the approximate cost be, a guesstimate on if it might be successful, and how I could change it if something goes horribly wrong and it looks like I went insane while making the soap. I mean, I had drunk duckies and that horrible incident with the play dough improvised mold dams coming loose and embedding in the lump of coal soaps. *cracking up* I’m learning to plan out alternative uses for my ideas. I really can’t think of other product uses for whole or chopped up plastic worms. *grin*

What do you think? Worth trying to make soap worms? Are soap worms even creepier than plastic ones? Should I just do a more solid brown soap with the Dirt FO and call them “Mud Pies”? I really appreciate any thoughts on this. I love the idea, but don’t know if it’s really “all that”. (Apparently I can’t resist going “Old School” right now…) I thought Monsters Away Spray would be a seller, but haven’t sold a single one, so I’m having a small confidence crisis anyway. 😉 Also, if you’re commenting anyway, would you mind telling me if you’d like more DIY recipes and tips?

In the meantime, I’m going to go geek out over some food soap molds I found. *grin*

This is not the ducky you’re looking for

Isn’t it funny how something can look so cool in your head, with a whole clever plan of how to make your project into a work of art that you’re actually totally happy with, and then you find out that the clever plan was quite flawed, your impatience got the better of you, and that your mind has less shaky hands than you? *grin*

I finished experimenting with my first batch of ducky soaps and they’re… interesting. I admit straight away that yesterday’s impatience led to two coming completely off of their soaps. *cracking up* I’ve never really liked the idea of using alcohol to help soaps adhere to one another and the other night I was reading on a mold vendor’s website that they recommend using some clear melted soap as glue. That I feel a lot better about, so I figured that should work better on keeping these ducks on. The ones that came out of the soaps never fit back in very well and when I added the shreds that were suppose to look cute and all nest-like, it looked like my ducks got drunk and rolled around in discards. *cracking up* I never put a duck on the last round when I poured them, so that worked as more of a blank canvas. I spread some melted soap onto the lavender round and delicately started placing shreds for the colorful nest. Then my hand started to shake. Yep…shreds for everyone! Lol. After that confetti gun artwork I decided to pour some soap over it to hold it down, so I could at least put the duck on. Can you guess what happened next? My hand shook. *grin* I ended up with clear soap down the sides and spreading across the wax paper that protected my counter. At this point I figured it couldn’t get much worse so I threw the remaining soap shreds at it and then patted them wherever they landed in the overflow. Amusingly enough I kind of like this sloppy look. It gives it a “splashing in a puddle” look to me and if it’s not going to be pretty, why not be totally fun and whimsical? *grin* I’m going to post “the evolution of a ducky epic fail” with the worst on the right and going counterclockwise. After that is a close up of my puddle ducky. I think I’m going to spoil myself with a ducky in the shower tonight. 🙂

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We’re taking on water Cap’n!

I took advantage of a burst of energy to experiment on the ducky soaps. I admit…*hanging head* I got impatient. I knew what I should do, but didn’t know how long I’d have the energy to play, so I skipped the waiting period and a few other steps. Oops! *grin* I don’t think they’re going to turn out bad, but they won’t be as pretty as hoped. The great thing is that I can remake these, so no problem, and it gave me some much needed experience in trying to attach things to soap.

I made up a pretty batch of lavender low sweat soap (to make extra sure nothing goes funky on these) and scented them with bubblegum, plus the vanilla stabilizer, as an extra step to make sure they stay the way I make them. I don’t think a duck on a brown pond would be quite visually appealing. *cracking up* I waited a few minutes for the soap to set after pouring into round guest molds, but didn’t want to wait for them to nearly fully set. Plop! I eased the first duck into one of the rounds and it started to flip beak down, like it was alive and looking for a tasty morsel. That was one of the oddest sounds I ever heard while doing soaps. *grin* I finally figured out that a butter knife holds each one up rather well when balanced carefully. I still couldn’t resist taking a picture of the drunken duck though. *laugh* Rest assured that I pulled him back out, gave him a quick bath, and then helped him balance.

I have 3 impatiently done ducks and then one plain soap round to experiment with using the proper techniques. I shredded some leftover soaps to use around the meeting point of the ducks to the soap that will (hopefully lol) adhere with a little clear soap and give an even more festive feel to them. I admit that I never expected to grate soap. Thank you Mom for the years of sticking me with the cheese grating duty. *grin* It came in handy. I’ll post pics of the improved versions of the ducks hopefully tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy my unlucky duck and i wish you a steady, warm wind!

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Salt Rub Recipe

As you may have noticed I don’t make salt scrubs to sell since sugar is gentler and I don’t have to worry about customers exfoliating with too much pressure.  Too much exfoliation goes beyond removing the dead skin from the surface – it often removes some of the healthy skin that you just exposed.  However, winter’s temperatures makes us bundle up and we don’t spot areas on our bodies that need a little TLC until it’s really noticeable, like dry elbows that suddenly catch on your thermal shirt when you try to put on.  *grin*

I thought that you might like an easy recipe that you can mix up in just moments and it goes a long way.  I ran across this recipe written by Lauren Cox in her EcoBeauty book, but honestly I change stuff in it every time.  *laugh*  I love that you can always change things to suit your needs and this is a really versatile recipe.  Her recipe calls for 2 cups of kosher salt, 1 cup of almond oil, and 2 to 3 drops of essential oil (optional).  I am really sensitive, so I use fine dead sea salts, but whatever kind you like is fine except really coarse salt, like rock salt or large grain dead sea salt that resembles small rocks.  I love to switch the salt for Epsom Salt, too, which isn’t really a salt (it’s actually magnesium sulfate), but has so many anti-inflammatory properties (totally random here, but don’t you hate when a word doesn’t have a set rule of hyphen or no hyphen?  When I worked in a neurology office all of the literature spelled it as “antiinflammatory”, but almost everywhere else it has a hyphen, so I am always going back and forth…anyway lol).  Almond Oil is usually really called Sweet Almond Oil and you can find it at health stores, some craft stores like Hobby Lobby (although they’re pretty small usually), and even our favorite Walmart started selling it near the vitamins.  Essential Oils (EOs) are getting easier and easier to get hold of now, so when you’re not having to buy a lot of them to use in stuff to sell, you can totally get away with a small bottle from Hobby Lobby or your health food store.  I like to use Peppermint EO as a pick-me-up, but sometimes I even use an FO like chocolate when I’m more into pleasing all of my senses.  *smile*

Stir everything together into a thick paste and put it in a clean jar with a tight lid.  This mixture can be kept in a cool and dry spot for a month or two.  (The time depends on what you put in it since some things spoil faster.  Thankfully mine have never gotten moldy or anything, but it gets a really weird, dusty smell that’s hard to describe when it turns.  Basically if it doesn’t smell like it did when you made it, toss it!)  You use it just like a sugar scrub, so take a handful and massage it into your skin when you’re in the shower.  I wouldn’t want to sit in the mixture with a bunch of dead skin it took off, so I don’t advise a bath, but that’s me.  The author recommends to start at your feet, but I can tell you from personal experience that you really shouldn’t do that!  First off, when you start at the bottom you’re less likely to work all of the way up.  It’s one of those odd human nature things.  Second, scrubbing your feet in the shower with anything that has an oil in it is seriously dangerous.  I love Lauren Cox’s recipes, but that instruction makes me freak out.  *grin*  Anyway, do your feet when you’re sitting all comfy and can remain seated until they’re dry or covered, pretty please.  Back to the instructions…massage it into your body and rinse really well with warm water.  It has a tendency to cling like sand in your shorts after being at the beach, so take your time.  *laugh*  One key thing that she writes is to not use soap afterward, because it will remove the oil and the moisturizing benefits.  When you run your hand over your skin it’ll have a silky and “coated” feeling, and the water will bead up on the surface due to the oil.  It seems totally counterproductive, but this protective barrier actually keeps moisture in your skin and makes it look healthier.

Although you can massage it over your general body (no face or delicate zones), I personally only use salt scrub on the really dry zones that need the extra umph.  I use a sugar scrub for the large zones.  Please keep in mind when you use a salt scrub to use really light pressure.  Most people are really uncoordinated when using just the ring finger and pinky, so those are the two fingers I use when I massage salts.  I look like a freak, but no one sees, so who cares?!  *grin*  Play with the recipe too!  Some days I scoop a bit out into a bowl and stir in some dark cocoa powder to it, and use that mixture.  I love adding a bit of honey to it too.  If you ever want some ideas for what might be a beneficial additive just take a look at the “Natural Benefits” page of my website or get hold of me.  I love to talk with customers, especially about benefits.

I hope you enjoy trying this out and find the perfect blend for you.  If you ever have trouble getting hold of the ingredients, don’t hesitate to contact me.  I’m help you get what you’re looking for.  Happy pampering!!

New Ingredients

I shopped in my first flash sale. *grin* I bought way too much, as usual, especially considering how much product just got tossed for being out dated. Lol. I just couldn’t resist a sale price with a rebate and a coupon. *laughing at myself*

Anyway….lol. I’ve been really amused by fish in a bag soaps. (See an example under my ideas board on Pinterest if you want.) Basically a little toy goldfish gets embedded in clear or light blue soap in a cello bag, like the fish in a bag that you win at the fair. I think those would be really cute for Spring/Summer and would be a really cute accompaniment to my Worms in Dirt soap.

I’m also going to try to make thumbprint cookie soaps. Basically the colored Shea soap has an indent in the center and a colored clear soap gets poured into the dip, looking like a jelly. The example I saw is gorgeous, so I think they’d look amazing in baskets. I’m kind of worried that the cookie will have the texture of those horrendous bath biscuits that I tried awhile back. *shudder* That is one product I am nervous about testing. Lol.

I’m also super excited, like bouncing in my seat excited, to have gotten a great deal on some one ounce jars so I can put samples in jars too, instead of the bottles. I’ve phased out bottles for lotions on my site, unless requested, since jars let the user get all of the lotion out easily. I love those tiny tester jars I used for the craft fair and am really glad that I can offer these.

I got two new colors and one is a neon hot pink that responds to black lights. I really love pink, but the pink that I have is pretty soft and turns more of a fuchsia if I use more of it, so I hope this is as pretty as the examples I’ve seen make it look.

Another super neat item I got is an orifice reducer for the 1 oz bottles of massage/body oils. I’ve tried for a long time to figure out how to keep from accidentally pouring too much oil into the hand. I had a tester pour almost half a bottle on accident when she tried to use it after shaving and it really concerns me that others might also be having trouble. This should make the oil come out in at least half of the volume that it does and the lids that I have on hand should fit on top without any problem. Yay!

Of course I also got a few new FOs since they are on sale. *embarrassed smile* The first is Sugar & Spice, which should be like spun sugar, cardamom, and coriander. I’m hoping that it doesn’t have the dry and dusty spiciness from Naughty or Nice and Over the Hill. The second is Ooh La La, which is a fun name, so I may just use that. *grin* I’ve wanted this FO since it first debuted last month. Juicy strawberry with dark chocolate. *sigh* I’ve tried to make a good chocolate covered strawberry and it wasn’t quite like smelling one of my favorite treats, so I’m really excited to get to try out a professional version. The last FO is called Hot Stuff. *cracking up* As you most likely know I love masculine scents, so whenever the wholesaler offers me a free sample FO I usually pick a masculine one. This has peppercorn, cinnamon, cashmere, and amber. That’s an intriguing combination to me and I have a lot of hope for it. My dream Scotsman smells a little spicy, sweet, woodsy, and has a musk undertone. *grin* I mean, he needs to smell as sexy as the kilt looks…*wiggling eyebrows with a smirk*

Lastly I just couldn’t resist getting the remaining ingredients that I need to make some cocoa massage melts. This is one item that I really look forward to testing myself! Cocoa butter, beeswax (I got pellets which are supposed to be a lot easier to melt), and sweet almond oil. If they come out well, then I’ll sell a few of them in small cello bags, I think. Some people use ice cube trays for the small molds, but I think this may be the perfect time to use the small beach and flower silicone molds that I got last year.

I’m pretty happy that I was able to replace a lot of my frequently used items like jars while on sale, since they’re the same price as before the wholesaler’s price increases, and now I won’t have to raise my prices on my favorite items. *happy dance* I really hope that the new things turn out well, so I can add them to my improved site. *grin* The flash sale was pretty fun, so if I can get my helper to come back (she hasn’t been here since she went on summer break and started back to school) I might have to see if a flash sale would work for my stuff. I think it’d be really neat to market one.

If you’re going to get hit by a snow storm tonight like we are, then I wish you a safe and warm night. If not, well…then I’m jealous. 😉 Goodnight!

Pinterest and Changes

As many of you know I finally established a presence on Pinterest. Thank you so much to those of you that are all ready following and sharing my pins. It means a lot that I have you supporting me through new endeavors.

Other than pinning my products on there what else would you like to see there? Do you want pics of ingredients that I’m researching or is that too boring for that format? Pics from other websites of shapes I’m thinking about or scent combos?

I’ve worked hard at updating my website the last few days and it looks so much cleaner and organized now. My OCD was going nuts when I would get on the site. Lol. I have the HTML code (mostly – still needs a bit more work) to add a pin it widget to the site, but wondered if anyone would really want/need it added? I have the pin option in my viewer toolbar, but I don’t know if everyone uses one or if users would prefer it on the page. I really appreciate any input on this and on the posting preferences.

I really shook things up with my lotions. I spent days doing inventory for my end of year taxes (yeah, I procrastinated lol) and when I discovered that I only sold a couple of bottles of lotion, mostly all lotions were sold in jars, I decided that something needed to change. I looked into a drop down menu option per product, at a friend’s smart recommendation, but found that it’s just not an option for me sadly. I went ahead and removed all bottled lotion prices, except for the samples, to get rid of so much duplication. I have no problem bottling lotions if ordered that way and stated such on the site. I just need to organize and streamline a bit. I also removed items that haven’t sold well or disappointed me. For the EOY I have to take an inventory of what is on hand and found a lot of spoiled or near spoiled products. I won’t offer an item that may have quality concerns. I noticed that products with EOs added were all spoiled, so now I know to get an antibacterial or something to add to them. *writes note to self for a new research topic* Mostly I had a lot of stuff that just sat around not selling, so they didn’t get remade, and I don’t have full confidence in their quality after the time frame. I added a note to ask if an item isn’t posted anymore that people are interested in. I really hate taking away that extra bit of variety that I offered, it’s almost like hiding a child that I love *grin*, and was more sad that they weren’t enjoyed by people than the hundreds of dollars lost.

Would you like me to thin down the FO pages? Remove the ones that don’t sell? Also, do you like the basket/combo page? I wondered if I should bother with it or just list non-product options that can be selected for building a basket…?

As always I truly appreciate any and all input, plus the time to read this. In looking through the blog for pics to pin I found myself grinning like a simpleton. It’s quite awesome to have a dialogue with those that keep my little business, and me, going. Thank you and thank you for my first pin followers!! You guys rock. Yep, time to pull it out – *breaks out into my nerd dance* 🙂

Worms in dirt

I am so excited over this idea. *squirming with excitement* I’m kind of embarrassed that it took this long to figure this out, but what matters is that I have. I have looked at so many creature toys to embed in the Dirt soap and haven’t found any that jumped out to me. Until now! A little out of the box thinking led me to the sporting goods department. Those worm lures (without hooks) will look so cute and realistic for the Dirt soaps. I’ve been scouring online stores to find the perfect colors and sizes. Don’t you think it’d make the soap that much more fun to use if there’s a realistic worm while you’re “using dirt” to wash up? *grin* I’m going to soak them to make sure anything funky comes off before I embed them, of course. I’m still trying to decide which mold to use though. Larry thinks the guest rounds which the worms chopped up in them (I’m sorry but that grosses me out even though they’re not real. Lol!), I just don’t know that cut ones would be quite so identifiable for kids. A bar soap would work perfectly and I can make the worm do some interesting shapes in them, but part of me wants to make the soaps even more exciting. My stars are too small (have to dice with those too) and some of my bigger ones would be thoroughly inappropriate to me, like the ballerina molds. *cracking up* Any opinions on what would look cute if I use the clear bars? I’m thinking maybe a goldish brown (just because the clear soaps always look kind of jewel toned anyway), but I’ve thought about swirling some solid green soap across the top like an oozing mossy bit of fun. 🙂 There are just too many possibilities. *grin* I just had to share my exciting epiphany while working out the rest. Any input/ideas are appreciated, as always!

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Monsters Away Labels

I can’t resist sharing a picture of the labels for the Monsters Away Spray. I decided to change the font to match the fun product and I think this is absolutely perfect. *happy dance*

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