I thought I’d continue pulling back the curtain on prepping to make products and my processes. This won’t be nearly as detailed, but rounds out the view.
Storage and organization of the products has been a really difficult thing for me to manage since we have a cozy sized home and the only space we could dedicate was the space for a shelving unit. It’s a blessing now, because it helps keep me from having too much on hand that can go bad before anyone ever wants a product that uses those ingredients. I’ve lost a lot of money on expired ingredients and it was a hard lesson, and taught me to budget for my creative endeavors a lot better. Now that I am getting help on occasion and may utilize product creation as a bonding and learning opportunity with Kiddo once we have placement, I decided that I really wanted to make things easier for locating ingredients. (If I’m being completely honest, I’m also thoroughly delighted with my label maker and it is soooo satisfying for me to label where things are! Yeah, I know how weird that is. *laugh* I figure it’s in the same part of my brain as my love of spreadsheets. *grin*)
Each shelf has a general theme and then, as you can tell by the labels in the right picture, there are sections for specific items. My containers are either stored and labeled in that little black stand in front of the shelving unit or in shoebox totes on the upper shelf of the curtained area. The bottom is kind of my overflow area, especially since containers are much cheaper when purchased in bulk, but take up so much room, and I also put a lot of my creation tools, like pots, the scale, and cutting boards, down there because it’s easier for me to reach than that top shelf. *laugh* Sometimes, due to my balance issues from my illness, my doctor(s) advise me to not climb, so I’m not always allowed to bring a chair or my ladder over. So about a month ago I got smart and moved some of those things down. *grin* And then my four shelves have a curtain to close them off to the rest of the kitchen, minimize any possible dust contamination to things like pipettes, and it’s another one of my “feels like I’m organized then” things. lol
The night I took pictures of my creation process I also took a few of prepping for experimenting on making some soaps. The left side shows preparing to handle the base and mix the scent with stabilizer (I bought a cheap set of butter knives to dedicate to this, since I found they work the best in those tiny cups and can actually get into the edges to guarantee that there aren’t oils hiding unincorporated). I honestly have so much to wash and disinfect anyway that I try to reduce needing to wash equipment when possible, so I use a lot of wax paper. *laugh* I can toss it out once I’m done or if it becomes contaminated and it saves me one of my few energy “spoons”. My plastic gloves are right beside the cutting board and then I put the rest of the box in an open gallon bag tacked to the other side of the half wall beside that counter, so I can grab another set quickly and easily if needed.
To the right are some of the molds I was considering to use in those formulas, plus my box of wax paper sheets and trusty bottle of alcohol. The microwave is above where the picture cuts off, so I can heat the base, add and adjust coloring, and then add the scent (or blend, herbs, etc.), and pour right into a mold, so the soaps don’t develop issues. If it cools too much then you can get a funky chunky look to the bottom of the soap, kind of like when you are frosting a cupcake and don’t get that nice little twist end, but instead end up with a blob of frosting at the tip. Also, if I move a mold when the soap is even barely cooling you’ll see a wrinkled appearance to the bottom of the soap (the exposed area when in the mold). There are a bunch of other possibilities for epic failures in this stage, but you get the drift, so I try to keep things easily accessible. Once the soaps are in the mold and they’ve cooled for a few minutes I cover the soaps with wax paper to prevent any contamination or air particles/dust settling while they set.
That night/early morning was when I changed my mind on Grandma’s Pie, so I swapped out the pie slice mold for another spoon mold. They’re by two different companies with different depths and different levels of success. *laugh* I really would like to do a “Spoonies” soap to offer and to even be able to successfully make to give to people I meet that are newly diagnosed along with the printout of the Spoon Theory. I’m not happy with either version, which is in the following picture, so I’ll end up reworking the formula and playing with how much I fill the mold I like.
As you can tell the two molds are incredibly different. The brown one makes the really deep and short spoons in the foreground in the right picture. The purple one is so shallow that the soaps resemble bubble blowing wands despite filling the cavities to the brim. You can see the best shallow soap behind that thick soap. Just look for the hole in the middle where it’s a lovely wax white shade. *grin* The only way I can make the shallow mold work would be to pretty much pour until the whole top of the mold becomes solid and then I have to cut each spoon out of the blob. Um, Xacto knife cutting is okay for tiny detail work, but I really doubt I could safely cut a whole mold full of soaps neatly. Okay, I even doubt I could neatly cut those soaps at all. *laugh* I’m realistic. As you can see with the thick soaps they’re so thick they don’t really look like spoons, so I’m going to see if maybe a half deep pour, instead of filling the cavities fully, will be better. I wish the color came through better, but hopefully it will if I can get these worked out and then do a photo box photo shoot of them. They are an eggplant shade with the gorgeous shimmer from the mica. *happy sigh* They are gorgeous.
Since I all ready shared about my labeling addiction, I’ll close with a confession. I’ve labeled almost every single cabinet and shelf throughout the kitchen and laundry room, plus every fabric box that holds my crafting supplies, and even on pet items like brushes that are used on Teddy only. If your resolution is to get more organized, send me a note and I’ll help direct you to my favorite items. 😉