Category Archives: Soaps
I made a decision on Black Friday. No matter what is going on with my help, and how much help I have to ask for in order to accomplish it, I’m going to end the hiatus and get back to making products to pamper and hopefully help others.
I have to admit, it’s overwhelming. The government has a lot of rules and I’ll have to redo every recipe that I have, if I want to continue any of my previous creations, since the guidelines have changed. Also, L and I had to have a real heart to heart discussion about the financial aspect. It’s no secret that I’ve always been in the red. I create products in an area that prefers to spend the same amount for a bulk package down at Walmart or the like. And my health isn’t well enough to try enticing customers at the Farmer’s Market when it’s in season. Not to mention that my time off meant that most of my ingredients expired, so I would need to replace anything I really wanted to focus on at the beginning. My therapist has been encouraging this for a while and after a lot of deliberation, we decided to invest in starting my crafting back up.
Thank goodness for online sales on Black Friday! I would have spent three times as much just to get my base ingredients replaced. It was still expensive, but it also helped me evaluate what I truly want to do with this little business of mine. I want to create. I want to be whimsical, gory, unpredictable, and sometimes a bit cheesy, nerdy, or girly. I want to make some products for kids to enjoy, so I got bubblegum and fruity scents for them. I got some *ahem* downright sexy scents (in my opinion at least) to help make more of a male and unisex friendly line. And I got some dessert and sweet fruit scents because I really want to play with making dessert-type soaps that you can just lose yourself in when you’ve had a tough day. A candlelit bath or shower, delicious scents swirling around you, and maybe your day will get just a bit better. I’ll continue to make my tongue-in-cheek monster line creations too, though, because they’re just plain fun.
I also got some micas and glitters that I can’t wait to experiment with! Unfortunately, during my hiatus suspension soap base was discontinued even with other wholesalers, so I get to learn how to suspend particles the harder way. Since it requires a lot of science and getting temperatures right, L got me a laser temperature gauge to hopefully help ease the learning curve a bit (candy thermometers just don’t cut it for me for some reason).
I decided to start small and be entirely selfish with creating just what I like to create with scents I prefer, instead of trying to get my previous decent selling products back up, since I never came out even anyway. This is going to be my creative platform instead of trying to be my money making supplement, so I realized I can do whatever I want. That was strangely a concept I never really had soak in before and it is so exciting now to get back to trying new things, and even revisiting a few others that I really liked or were really beneficial products in theory, like the goat’s milk lotion and products made with honey.
I have always struggled with asking for help, even as my illness progressed, but thankfully my therapist has finally gotten through my thick skull that it’s not a weakness or a limitation to be angry about. It just something different to accommodate new needs. I basically just needed to get over myself and my fierce desire to prove to myself that I could still do things I did before my illness became so prominent. Isn’t that a funny thought? Sometimes you have to get out of your own way in order to get where you need to go. 🙂 However, I’ve all ready set up some help and will ask for help from others if needed. I truly want to make my eclectic creations again.
I’ll have to wait until I get over whatever bug I’ll inevitably catch due to the holidays, but then I’ll slowly start to go through my supplies, dispose of outdated items and organize what’s left or newly purchased, and then redo recipes I want to play with again. And I need to change up my website. I’ve all ready changed my payment system back to PayPal, although I’ll be doing some test runs with that to make sure all goes well, and make some decisions on going more retail or keeping the site more informative, so I have the ability to work directly with the customer to make sure they get what they really want or need. I’m really not sure about having an impersonal online store where you just select how many you want of some item, click a few buttons, and move on. I kind of think the extra involvement and ability to answer questions or help guide customers is what sets me apart from the big boys.
So, look for some changes coming to the site (how long has that under construction sign been up on my site now? Lol), some possible grumbles about how stupid I think it is for some of the regulations and limitations the government imposes even on crafters instead of actual businesses, and hopefully with another month at least a few WIPs (work in progress, in case you’re not familiar with that one, which will probably be an acronym I’ll toss around a lot in later posts). *grin* And expect some shiny shinies. *laugh* My biggest inspiration while shopping were the metallic-like micas and glitters. Once I get that suspension technique down, I’ll be letting my girly side out to play, which doesn’t often happen.
No bath bombs though. I’ll let Lush dominate that area and worry about staining skin and bathtubs. *laugh* If you’d have some ideas nor product names you’d like to have me see if I can use, please don’t hesitate to comment or email me! I can always use more inspiration!
Anyway, that’s my happy little update. If you celebrate them, I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a happy, and safe, New Year’s! 🙂
New Products Hitting My Site!
I am so excited to have a few soaps I’ve been working on finished, tested, and ready to sell! Time for the business restart to begin. *big grin* I only have a few at the moment, especially since one product was a trouble child that required a few batches to get it right and even now I think I could probably do a few more changes to improve, but hey. I seriously love some of the scene set ups I managed. I guess that waiting period for the next conference call and to hear about the BIS has been fruitful, since I have been trying to keep myself distracted. Without further ado, here is the grand reveal (although you’ve all ready seen the Ale one, since it worked out the first time and just depends on what notes your own nose is able to pick up on, instead of being a problem with the soap.)…
Zombie Ale Soaps at $1.50 each. Made with real light beer added to the soaps. Some users are unable to pick up on the beer notes, but the bright cherry note comes through very nicely and even my male tester doesn’t mind this soap. The “foam” part of the soap is softer than the “ale” bottom, so if you’re gift giving, try to be gentle with the top and make sure it’s on top.
The Missing Piece Soap at $2.00 each, with other color choices for the same price. The soaps all smell like original Cotton Candy and have a very soft shimmer. The white has a lot more shimmer with red highlights when the light hits it. Only photography edit to this was to turn it into HD. By the way, these would make great gifts for someone that you know is adopting (looking for their missing piece) or especially as a gift to the new family member!
Swamp Slime Soap at $1.75 each; every soap is completely unique due to the “dirt and muck” color swirling. This soap has a top note of rain and a medium note of dirt. Note, the only picture editing is making it HD, so that you can see that some soaps have more swirl on one side and mostly a single algae-like spread on others.
I literally have a page full of ideas to work on in the next few months, especially since I want to be able to market come November, so I’m excited to have taken the first step back into the mad creator’s world. 🙂
I forgot the pictures. Buh.
I was looking at my phone’s camera roll when I realized I forgot to post the pictures of the massive restocking I had to do, with a few new items and some gift discontinued items from my wholesaler. So, a little late but better than never. *grin*
Yep, I told you that leaving a mixing shot glass of beer on your counter in order to go flat can look very…unsettling. *laugh*
Look at the awesome molds!! Two sizes of loaves, with the wood one having a removable silicone insert and a little less volume than the red one. Two special adoption puzzle piece molds and two four-leaf clover molds that are actually pretty deep (since I have a hard time resisting anything in the realm of Celtic *grin*). These were pure additions and not replacements, except for the loaves, since my previous two weren’t overly good.
That’s one really full, heavy box!
I still look at the unpacked pictures in awe. It’s just a tiny bit less than when I first decided to start this adventure! The red thing in the left bottom corner is even a tiny square embeds mold, so all of them are even and none are wonky because I can draw or cut a straight line at all. *laugh*
This is the awesome fragrance blending wheel I got to help with making my custom blends. I’m used to just winging it and seeing if the proportions were right, for the upper, sometimes middle, and lower noted in a scent. Except for a few products, most are actually blends I’ve worked on. This takes all of the guesswork, luck, and grossly smelling batches out of the equation. It gives a range of what to use for each set of notes and on the back it has ratios, so you can create blends so much easier. There are also blender sticks in the haul to go with it, where I do sticks of scent per the ratio, hold them in a clothespin, and get an idea while wafting the scent if you’d like to change up the ratio, without losing more than a few drops of scent. Brilliant!!
I’m super excited about these spout bags. The darker bottom is actually the base that opens up so that the container can stand. This should allow me to ship some lotions and bubble washes at a lower price, since I won’t have to need big enough boxes for big jars or cylinders. *happy dance* Bonus, it’ll look awesome for some “Vamp tears” or something monster related! A vibrant red spouted pouch would make a wacky and wonderful stocking stuffer in my opinion, for the right type of person.
And lastly, explanation before picture just to hype it up for a few seconds, although this is just batch 1 and I need to work with the recipe a bit more…
Zombie Ale!! My first time soaping with a non-cosmetic ingredient (beer), actually turned out and looks pretty good, I think. In first testing the only scent left behind was apples, so I’ll do a second test on this batch, and then, if still just apples, time to play with more beer with bigger molds. I’m still digging the “head” I managed to get on the ale soaps with adding beer to soap and using a frothing mixer. I’m really loving the appearance.
I’m on batch 2 of the adoption soaps, along with a couple others, so pictures of those to come once I remember. 🙂
I sorely underestimated how much effort it would take to get my business supplies re-organized and also sort through to find all of the expired ingredients. My oh my was that an eye-watering exercise. I honestly never knew that scents could seem to ferment. *laugh* It is really nice to have an organized cabinet with a complete inventory list of what I have (I finally got smart enough to do that *rolling eyes*), and I’m about to receive an order of supplies of my best FOs to get the ball rolling again.
In the meantime I’ve worked on the basics on some new recipes and am super excited to try a few out. I’ve also been working on trying to figure out photo props and backgrounds for certain items, like Swamp Slime. I’m not the kind of girl that has a high “ick” factor when it comes to touching things, so I don’t have gooey and gross things laying around. I’m debating using some samples of shampoo that L will be testing for me, dyeing them neon green, and pouring some on my soap cutting mat around the finished product (or product up on a shot glass out of the much LOL), so I know I have a sterile base and he won’t care if I scoop it back up and bottle it for him. I also can’t decide on what scent to use for “spray the bitch away”. L came up with some fun ideas, but they were stinky, and I just don’t think that’s a real selling point unless it’s being given to the offender. *cracking up* I’m think of maybe something refreshing, like a light fruity scent, to cleanse the air of her existence. *grin* I was a little concerned at first with that duplicating a concept I had for toilet spray (you know, the spray before you go type), but then I realized having one recipe that could work for two products wasn’t actually a bad thing. Very practical, for once.
After sanitizing every item I actually got up some energy to make a gift and prepare ingredients to soap while I’m up overnight. I’m working on a base recipe for a conditioning shampoo, so I can offer a combo of products all in the same scent (took me long enough, right?! *laugh*). So batch 1 is a gift and so far the product itself is holding up well, but I need to see how it is in action, and I can’t condition my hair unless I want to look like I have Kid Rock’s locks within a few hours. Meh. *grin* As to the soap, I have everything ready to go, except I had to wait for some beer to go flat. So hard not to call a party foul on myself and super hard not to take a sip, but it’s my last day on my antibiotics, so I have behaved. Just a note, a shot glass of beer going flat looks a lot like a small urine sample that got left on your kitchen counter. It is…unsettling. *grin* This will be my first time soaping with a liquid ingredient outside of the soap ingredients, like glycerin, so we shall see how batch 1 of Zombie Stout soap comes out. *nervous smile* ‘Cause, you know, it’ll either go just fine or be a spectacular disaster, since that’s the way I work. I thought of doing a swirl soap, but I think I’m going to mostly do a naturally beer-gold base and then a separate layer of white fake foam head, although it make just end up being blobbed around into waves with a knife instead of aerating the soap, since the I’m nervous enough about the addition of liquid to the soap. And, if I feel up to it after that, a few special soaps that are near and dear to me right now that I’ll share with pics when I can get to them. Setting a backdrop for the pic will be the easy part of the Zombie Stout, if it works, since making product requires shot glasses and the like. Nothing gruesome for this one, but lots of fun, gruesome ones to come, I assure you. Mawahahaha. 😉
Back in the Suds
I’m going to be back in the suds, baby! *grin* I couldn’t resist. I’ve been thinking a lot in the past couple of months how “I should go make a batch of soaps and then do the dusting afterward” and such, but a lot of my fragrances had gone out of date, so I couldn’t. I kept saying to L that “maybe once we get Kiddo and if she wants to make stuff, I can get some supplies and resurrect the business”. It shouldn’t take the adoption when there’s all ready some motivation and I have pages of ideas I’ve been writing down all of this time. I’m going about it very differently this time. I replaced the most popular scents, added a couple new ones and an educational set on helping to make your own blends to get more miles out of your milliliters, and some packaging materials. If I actually get business, I’ll keep replacing and slowly expand back out. I think I just gave way too many options the first time that it got overwhelming. Regardless, it’s all going to be heading down a new path, just like me. *smile*
I’m definitely in more of a theme frame of mind. I really want to expand the Monster Line and am so excited about some of the new products to work on! I don’t want to share too much in case something doesn’t work and I hope to generate a little interest/excitement. I will let you in on what a few of my mental hamsters have been spinning around on…”Transylvania Tickle”, “–unknown– Morsels” (still fiddling with it), “Gargoyle Dust”, “Rotten Bakery”, “Dreadful Delights Pie”, “Bullfrog Slime” or “Zombie Boogers”, “Spray the Bitch Away” (excuse the curse word, but I think that’ll be the selling point *laugh*), “Zombie Stout” (that might be a bit beyond my ability, but I’m going to give it a lot of effort, especially since it actually smells like popping the top off a cold one on a hot day with bright, summery notes), and maybe a few other Zombie themed items. It’d be pretty fun to get wild and see if I can get some yellow swirls into some black soap without them blending. The line will be a mixture of adult and kid friendly items, so I’m thinking of making little starter combo packs with some “Monsters Away” spray and whichever green liquid hand wash I end up with (that’s the slime vs boogers debate *laugh*). I want to do a few areas, like more feminine based humor such as the spray and a few crimson type items, plus I’ll probably add the Love Bites over in that section. A fun Christmas gift would be a combo of the monster “sweets” soaps, zombie items, and vampire items.
I’m still debating some names for standard family friendly items and what I’ll use some of my top scents, like Fruity Patootie and Bubblegum, in other types of molds. Although I’m not as excited about it, I’d really like to work on some male-friendly items that they would even consider buying for themselves, although I think I won’t hold my breath for that. *grin*
I also need to come up with what would work well as slices from a loaf mold, with layers or embeds in it. I’m not sure if I’m going Monster or standard. I definitely think sticking to mostly Monster items or somehow making all of the products into the Monster theme would make me stand out. I might have to make a fantasy line to it too, if I do that though, because I really want to use “Naughty Elf Oil” for a body/shaving oil with fun holiday notes. *laugh* I don’t know why, but I’m obsessed with that one. Maybe because a favorite book series right now is about a Winter Elf.
Any which way, I appreciate any ideas and feedback, if you have any. I also need to get my thesaurus out (hello Alexa) and come up with less discouraging names for things like biohazard, deadly, and such. I’m also toying with the idea of sending some of the Monster products to the Irish YouTube show “Sharuf”, in honor of Rufus being a monster puppet, and the host usually is amazing about sharing the information about the person who sent items for them. Ironically the viewers are mostly American, so it could get me some good national exposure.
So, cross your fingers please that I can get in there once the products arrive and get back to creating. It’s part of my “bringing Wednesday back” challenge to myself (see the Wednesday post on July 15th, if you missed that). I’m tired of the infection, and the antibiotic that is kicking as hard as the infection, and hope I’m getting close to being active, since I have been trying to do a little bit each day even if it’s just to change (Spoonies will totally understand how that is an accomplishment sometimes). Although my life will be all about the beautiful blessing we adopt, once that ever happens, I really need to get back in touch with the rest of me first, and a clock might actually be ticking to get this done soon. *big grin with crossed fingers* Hopefully Zombie Boogers wouldn’t keep Kiddo from learning how to make product…that’s a chemistry tie in project, but I do worry that my morbid humor is going to keep people away (although few ever bought the regular stuff anyway, so I’m kind of focusing more on fun this time).
And now a little nerd humor to close this one… 🙂
A Little More Behind the Scenes
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. 😉
One Soap Formulation Description
I thought today I’d give you a little more of a behind the scenes look at my process for a type of soap creation and also describe how I go about creating my formulas for products.
I seldom ever use formulas (recipes) created by others for my products, except every so often ones written by the professional soap crafter that created the wholesale supply company that I use. It kind of ruins the creative and fun side of crafting for me. Sometimes the epic failures are a bit overwhelming and discouraging, but most of the time that problem solving aspect spurs me on to keep going. Probably remnants of my days as a Medical Billing Clerk and Coder, plus the HIPAA Clerk responsible for Risk Analysis. Or maybe it goes all the way back to my love of Nancy Drew books. *laugh* Any which way, I love the research behind creating a new formula and all of that tedious stuff that most customers never get to see.
Here I am at about 3 AM a week ago after getting all of the ingredients and tools ready, having finished my research, and written up the starting formulas for the Spoonie soaps and the Maple Bacon squares that I was considering making into embeds for the previously mentioned Grandma’s Roadkill Pie. At the furthest back of the table is the window and wildly messy bed that one of my cats insisted on making look as bad as possible right before I took the picture. Since I had just disinfected, I wasn’t about to touch his stuff. *laugh* In front of that, on the right side, is all of the safety equipment, while my ingredient research book is on the left side. From those items to me are the ingredients for my mad scientist moments. *grin* There is vanilla stabilizer, to help keep the soaps from turning brown due to vanilla content, mica powders for coloring the soap, some color soap bars as a backup if the mica didn’t work to my satisfaction, and then the FOs I was planning on using.
When I create a formula (after talking so much with the case worker for the adoption it came to my attention that really I’m performing chemistry and making math equations, and not really recipes, so I decided to go with the name for consistency sake), I start out writing down the basic ingredients that I plan to use. So I start with how much soap base I want to work with or believe the mold may hold (that’s a fun guessing game some days *rolling eyes*; I really need to go through and just fill with water, and then make a list of each mold’s capacity, but that’d make things too easy). I then write down which scent(s) I am using with a space for writing in the amount of FO I end up using, plus I look up and write down the government’s allowable amount of the ingredient in the base, and then I follow the same steps when I write down the stabilizer if applicable and what type of colorant I will be using. There are a lot of scents that would be too overpowering if I used the maximum allowable, so I always write that in as I am in the creation process. I’m not sure how they come up with a maximum allowable amount for a base, but the government has a percentage allowance for each ingredient dependent on what you’re using it in, and then I refer to a cheat sheet percentage conversion chart that lists 3% of 8 Oz equals 7 ML allowed, etc. I also have a secondary conversion of ML to teaspoons for the micas and such. Did I mention that periodically they love to change those allowables and so I have to go back through previously made formulas to check if they’re within the new allowable. Sometimes I’m creating products when I really shouldn’t be because my hamster wheels aren’t quite running right in my brain and I forget to write down what mold I’m using or how many mold cavities my new formula holds. Those can be interesting to run across when I sit down to type up everything in my computer. *grin*
Next I move on to laying out the molds and setting up all of the tools in the areas I will use them, plus getting my trusty scale out to make sure I’m going by weight instead of volume, which I learned to do after my first year of creating products and running into a problem with figuring pricing due to volume since those weight to volume conversions don’t usually work out right. *laugh* If I am using a scent that requires stabilizer I need to pipe in the amount of scent I want to start with and then mix in an equal amount of the stabilizer, and then thoroughly mix and let sit for at least five minutes, but no longer than fifteen, so I have a maximum of fifteen minutes for finishing prep and getting to the scenting stage when I make soap. Thankfully it’s not an issue I deal with in any other product (mostly because scrub is all ready a mucked up color and bubble washes are used up way before a color change could ever take place, but soap color changes happen a LOT faster). I mix the FO and stabilizer in these little shot glass sized measuring cups, and yep, it almost always looks like a frothy odd color of urine for some reason. *laugh*
I move on to weighing, cutting, and warming up the soap base (which was previously created in bulk), almost always in the microwave in a business dedicated measuring cup, although I also have a bulk soap heater, which is kind of like a specialty crock pot. I like having more control over each step, and the individuality approach, so I prefer all ingredients for a soap in a single large measuring cup instead. Although there are differing “must follow” instructions for which comes next, I then start adding color after the base has melted, and once the preferred color is reached I add the scent mixture, and stir the tarnation out of the concoction. If the scent doesn’t seem like enough it seriously sucks, because I need to recheck the allowables, add scent into the emptied cup and then blend with stabilizer again, and try to keep the soap warm while waiting for the blending time frame to finish. I honestly seriously suck at this part. I almost always either warm it too much and it boils a bit (which isn’t great for the mixture and it dilutes what scent is all ready mixed in), or I get caught up in another task and the soap sets up partially in the measuring cup and it’s a pain to try to reheat that since it’s not a stage that I can cut up or remove from the cup. I’m learning to quit trying to multitask and just mother hen during the warming process, which totally goes against my grain. *grin* And then I cross my fingers and add the scent blend when it’s time, hoping that it comes out smelling just right. At times the maximum allowable just doesn’t allow for enough scent if it’s a delicate scent or one with mixed notes, while other times some scents just go funky once added to a base. Like I said, it’s basically a chemistry experiment. *smile*
Once it’s as good as it’s going to get I pour into the mold(s) and if I have extra (what I call overpour), I hurriedly grab a random clean mold and pour the extra into that. *laugh* Spritz the top (which is actually the bottom of the soap) with some Isopropyl Alcohol (yep, the stuff you use for antiseptic), which actually causes most, if not all, bubbles to pop and usually the smell fully dissipates. Then I cover with wax paper, since I don’t have a separate building to be doing this and who knows what could get into the air or splatter since it’s a kitchen in a lived-in house! And following that is the dreaded clean up process which is usually killer on my Fibro, since I’ve usually used up all of my energy on the creative part (thankfully I have help sometimes that handles that for me! Bless you guys!). The worst part then follows. Waiting a day or even a few before the product sets up and I can see how it turned out. I am so impatient with creative endeavors, plus the scent tends to fill the house, and if I created several products with varying scents, sometimes we have a headache inducing, nasty blend of smells filling our house. *laugh* Once set it is time for packaging, altering it as needed if being used in other ways, or bagging it up to deal with later if I’m kind of lost creatively at that point. I can’t tell you how many bags of product I’ve had to toss that I just couldn’t figure out what to do with or wouldn’t work in the concept I had originally came up with and can’t come up with an alternative use. People have gotten tired of my giving them these soaps, since there are usually several soaps and don’t get used up fast enough to need more soap dumped on them *grin*, and I’m in a location that isn’t that great for donating. I’ve shipped lots of this soap to emergency areas, but can’t always afford the shipping or run out of room to hold them while waiting for a chance to donate. The efficient and reduce/reuse/recycle side of me goes ape over this, I assure you.
After this I figure up the pricing of the ingredients in the formula (subtracting the amount of overpour when I figure up the pricing, of course), add my 55% labor charge (yep, I don’t do like most people and have a markup of 100 or 200% since I want to keep the price points lower, and just mostly someday make enough money to cover the costs so that I can keep getting to be creative), and add the tax. I hate as a consumer trying to figure up and set aside tax for a purchase, so I decided a long time ago to just add it to the product cost and then I’ll just take the extra tax needed out of my profit, if applicable, or get that tiny extra percentage added for a little more profit that I can turn around and spend on more ingredients. And then quarterly I get to pay my quarterly profit tax or notify them I had no sales for the quarter. So. Much. Red. Tape. Almost every stage has something I need to keep track of or watch for changes. *laugh*
So, in almost full detail, that’s a pretty good look at what goes on for basic mold poured soaps. Manipulated soaps are a lot more complicated and I’ll tell you about that another day, unless someone comments that this was super boring, because I really don’t want to bore you! I really hope that it was kind of neat to know what is going on to deserve that labor mark up. Until tomorrow, have a warm and happy day, and don’t forget to find a few moments to pamper yourself. You always deserve even just a few moments!
Day Two – The Monster Product Line
As you may remember from last year I made some Monster Duck soaps as well as some Zombie Bait brain soaps. A bit gory to some, mostly just funny and interesting to most people, and really interesting to work on creating. While I was quiet on here I thought a lot about those products and about how proud of them I am (yep, I’m mixing tenses, because I’m still incredibly proud of those little beauties and the fun photo shoots!). I came up with several ideas of products to add in the same realm, so I decided to make an actual line for these kinds of products and allow my creativity to have full reign.
A few ideas I had to throw out because they’re were too gross even for my macabre and sarcastic sense of humor, and then a few just weren’t logical enough for me to tolerate. Which seems ironic to most people I tell that to, since it’s all about implausible things anyway. I have no idea why, but some things have to be logical to me. For example, I thought about making “Grandma’s Roadkill Pie” soap slices. At first I thought of just embedding a bunch of different colored soap cubes and chunks of brain soaps, etc., but then I thought about how that would be more like a pot pie for the roadkill embeds to fit in, and all I could picture was how that first crack with your fork of the pot pie always makes the contents pour out almost like a stew inside of a crust. That just did not work for me with having a pie slice mold and I became obsessed with how it wouldn’t be logical for the roadkill to stay in pie form. *cracking up* As a result I went a little further down the rabbit hole and want to try formulating a “Dreadful Delights Cake” instead. It can have things like goblin syrup, eye of bat, rotten pumpkin, and swamp scum in my small bundt cake molds. Just like with a regular cake you have liquids and then your flour gives it a binding, cake-like texture. I don’t have any good excuses for why that is so much more logical and reasonable to me, but my brain works in mysterious ways and that’s where it settled. *grin*
I also came up with some other concepts to play with and hopefully make some successful formulas for. I’d like to do a Vampire-themed soap that’s black and red. I haven’t decided if I want to swirl the colors in guest rounds or if I want to try a new technique I watched a tutorial about where you make a loaf of soap with straws making open holes through the soap that can then be filled by another color of soap and it makes a complete stripe of that color. I could either make it look like bloody veins where a vampire’s fangs had fed, maybe even with those cheesy fake vampire teeth stuck into the soap. Who knows where this concept will take me. *laugh* I also want to actually make a product I thought of ages ago called Vampire Tears, which will be a red bubble wash. I’m debating Vampire Ashes as a name for some bath salts, too, but my mind battles over which genre of vampire lore I’d go with – some depict the ashes as grey ash whereas some (albeit mostly B movies) show it as a reddish substance, which would definitely be more attractive than soaking in grey bath water. *grin* I have the same problem with the name/idea of “Gargoyle Dust” salts due to the whole dirty water look. It might work for a new formulation of the mechanic soap that’s less abrasive. Rotten Sweets will probably be mini bundt cakes in chocolate for the cake and either cherry or strawberry FO drizzled over as blood or some other gore. I think I’ll let the drizzle be an unshaped pour, too, instead of having shaped pooling at the base like I did for the brains and ducks. Partially because shaping hot soap really hurts and I try to limit how often I purposely do stupid things to myself. *laugh*
A few other product names I am playing with and need to develop some product concepts for are “Deathly Morsels”, “Devilish Delights”, “Swamp Ooze” (or Scum) for a bubble wash probably, “Zombie Stout” (a colored bubble wash using the Ale FO and it even calls for using stale beer in it that theoretically has the liquor part burn off during the heating phase – that’ll be an interesting experiment I suspect!), and some version of a Zombie Repellent, although I need a different name for that, since I found an actual soap made by a crafter named that, so I need to play with the name because I’m not giving up on that one because I love the concept. I’m also wondering if a “virus” or “zombie” combo would be of interest to customers. I personally would be incredibly amused to get a basket with that type of theme, but, then again, I’m not the normal kind of girl, as we know. *laugh* I’m also debating if Zombie Boogers bath salts or bubble wash is too gross or just gross enough that it would really appeal to kids, and in honor of the pride of Kansas, I want to make a product named “Melted Witch”. *grin* The great thing with the monster line is that I can have all of these wild things and use any scent that I fancy, instead of actually trying to make a logical connection, like if it’s red people expect a red fruit or a rose scent, etc. Monsters are a free zone of creativity. Mawahahaha
I’d love to hear any of your ideas or even creative criticisms if you have some. Do you have a name that you think would make a fun addition? Have any ideas of tweaks on the names I’m toying with? Or even what kind of product to match to some of these names maybe? I think it would be a lot of fun to try to make some products inspired by readers, so please bring them on…*in a fake, deep, creepy voice* if you dare…
Cyber Monday 2016
In honor of Cyber Monday, 11/28/2016, I am offering 20% off purchases (excluding shipping) today.
As you can tell from the following picture I have been busy for weeks working on soaps to post today. Please check out my Soaps page on the website! I did quite a variety from an “Undead Collection” to Snowflakes to Maple Bacon Bars, and many others in between, so there should be something for everyone. This picture was taken just after unmolding several batches of soaps, and before I got a few batches finished, but it gives you a good idea of how hard I’ve been working. Ignore my Thanksgiving list in the background please. *laugh*
I hope you have a wonderful day and I hope to start blogging regularly very soon. In the meantime, help someone pamper themselves today. 🙂