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‘Tis the season to do a lot of work

Despite a few lingering symptoms from the poisoning I’ve been really pushing myself to get a lot done and I am so excited with the progress I’ve made! I’ve made soaps, lotions, oils, and baskets, plus I finished up creating a cover for my business cabinet with Velcro for easy removal when I want to work. This is beyond happy dance proud. *grin*

Miss Ash came last Thursday for the first time this year and she labeled everything that I had made. (I still think it’s cute how excited she gets about applying labels. What’s that phrase? “It makes my heart smile.” I totally get that now.)

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Lots for her to label

She helped stir both pots of lotions, which was a huge help while I was making batches of different scents and the emulsifying wax wasn’t playing nicely that day. She was reluctant to pour any lotions, but she poured her first true soaps and I’m really glad that my persnickety personality was on hiatus, because the pure joy and excitement was incredible to see. I needed a glitter bar for the girl’s Christmas tin combo and although I intended to sell the other 3, instead I’m giving them to her as a thank you gift for her help.

20131124-105533.jpg She really likes the smell of alcohol apparently, and got a bit heavy handed with spraying it as a result, so the embeds made the soap surrounding them just a bit hazy, but they’re still pretty cute. She dragged her mom all the way to the kitchen to show off her creation at pickup, which cinched it in my mind that she should get her first full fledge creations. *grin*

Since I was on a roll I kept working after Miss Ash left and I used my brand new slice mold. Right before she came over I had poured the guest loaf full of clear reddish (meant to go dark red, but it definitely looks dark pink when the light hits just right.) It sat up quickly (it’s a little cold here right now, even with the heater on) and I diced it up to embed in the slice mold.

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A slice of peppermint pie soap

I was excited to have finally ordered this mold that I’d eyed for so long, but I became absurdly tickled when I got to work with it. Lol. It’s always a little fun to poke embeds into soap as it is poured and sets, anyway, so it was a great way to end a busy day.

And here is the result.

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This is a dual named soap. It’s scented with peppermint, so it’s “A Slice of Peppermint” soap, but my morbid mind latched onto the red as being blood and meat clumps in a “Roadkill Remains” soap for the Redneck basket. *cracking up* I seriously considered dying the white soap brown to go with the Roadkill idea, but wanted to stick with using standard products that are always available and I thought that might be a little too repulsive for the more squeamish. Lol. I totally love the results, though!!

To top it all off I decided to have some fun with the fonts while I made labels for the slice soap, new lotions, and the replacement labels for the Redneck products. I found some amusing handwritten and very hillbilly fonts that I think are perfect for the Redneck items. *huge grin*

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The middle row has my favorites. The exfoliating scrub and the natural bubble bath crack me up (details will be included in another post).

Although I’m exhausted I’m so pleased with all of the progress. All of the baskets/combos are almost completed, so I’ll be sharing those soon, and I have most of the paperwork done all ready too. My $4 slice of Roadkill Remains/Peppermint Pie is my favorite accomplishment. Hopefully tomorrow I can show a few finished baskets. In the meantime, enjoy the cyber sale shopping and don’t work too hard while getting ready for the holidays. ๐Ÿ™‚

A nerd, shampoo, and a redneck. What the…?

I’ve actually gotten a lot done while recovering from the beginning stage of iron toxicity and there was only one crisis. I’m either improving or the universe finally decided that I had enough to deal with. *laugh* I’ll hope for both, but figure it was merely a karmic oversight.

I did a ton of paperwork (although I still can’t find a few missing papers. Doh!) and updated a lot of recipes. As much as the nerdy side of me loves figuring up recipes I’m tired of guidelines changing and my having to redo the calculations. I also found an (oops – nerd flag raising here) app that lets me make a to do list plus show if I made anything, how long it took, and even to separate tasks and projects, then link the tasks to the project. *pushes glasses back up my nose and sighs happily* I can feel better about not killing a bunch of trees for my lists and I can easily track my progress with all of my projects. If you have an iPhone and love lists, then rush to the App Store for “Weave”, brought to the masses by the trusted Intuit brand. By the way, one project only has two more tasks left before it’s completed. Booyah! *grin*

I’ve completed at least one task per day until today (although I might add writing a blog post as a task just so that I can feel that I accomplished something instead of just being proud that I got out of pajamas. Hmmmm.). I made several varieties of bubble washes, evening primrose lotions, goat’s milk lotions, and some massage oils. That small crisis actually popped up twice, although I only realized it yesterday. While the bubble wash simmered to the proper temp to accept scent (and I had fished the lively candy thermometer out of the bubble muck that it kept trying to take a full dive into a few times) I decided to make the oils on my holiday list.

See, my first mistake was trying to actually accomplish more than one task. Let that teach me to not get greedy. Lol. Anywho! I decided to do these in a 1:1 ratio of almond and coconut oils. I weighed out and poured the coconut oil, then added the total FO I’d need for the blend. I don’t know why, but something made me look at the label on my almond oil jug. Is your spidey sense tingling yet? Instead of almond oil it was a gallon jug of shampoo base. Granted they are the exact same color and in the same shaped jug, so it was easy to mistake, but I didn’t order shampoo. It doesn’t work so well in massage oils, and they’re not in the same area of the wholesaler’s website even, so I know I didn’t pick it. Lol. I’m just glad I looked at the label this time when I always go by the color usually. Nothing else in my cabinet (well, until this) looks like the almond oil jug with a lightly yellow oil inside. (It’s not an overly appealing thought that the shampoo starts out yellow, right?!) I decided to splurge on the oils and just go full coconut oil for them. I realized that the oils I had experimented with last week obviously are mostly shampoo and are awaiting labeling as a massage oil (Miss Ash is returning this week to help during the holiday season, so I have held off on labeling, since that’s one of her favorite tasks). I pulled those bottles out of the collection and in having a dramatic emoticon texting meltdown to my other half he smarted off about having some fancy shampoo. *cue the lightbulb above my head lighting up* So not only did I just adjust and make straight coconut massage oils, but I’ll add these messes up bottles to more shampoo base and try out some coconut oil shampoo. Shoot, maybe it’ll be impressive and help break that pesky fear of adapting. *grin* If not I’m still impressed that I adjusted and switched to the straight oil so easily. I’m still marking those brownie points down. And my brownie points actually add up to allowing me to have a brownie, so double win.

As my usual disasters go this was definitely one of the easiest to handle and a lesson in adaptation was due anyway. Plus, a quarter of the items in my to do list got checked off. To top it all off I came up with a combo that’s still cracking me up – the redneck combo. (Since I’m a redneck in a family of rednecks I’m not mocking the culture, just using it as a way to have some fun and catch the eye.) I’m going to make “Saturday Night Date Wash”, “Beard Be Gone Shaving Soap”, and probably “City Slicker Soap”. We’ve thrown around names for a lotion, but they tend to sound perverted, so I keep veering back to the safe realm of soap. Lol. I’m having a lot of fun with this idea and they’ll be products I normally sell (or hope to) anyway, just with a different name. Otherwise I’m part way done with new versions of the Christmas Sweet Treats Basket, the Spa Basket, and the Kids Tin, with the new Men’s Combo being almost ready to show you.

More details to come later, but I finally got over my embarrassment and am laughing, so it was time to share. I hope you have a great night planning out your Black Friday goals (don’t leave my nerd flag hanging alone…I can’t be the only one on the bf app!). Happy pampering. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m Flushing This Fish

I had a very rare burst of energy that stayed for three days. I can’t even remember the last full day that I had energy, let alone more than one, since I got sick, so I took advantage of the energy. I made six batches of soaps, all of them experiments, and some were real flops.

First, I finally gave the whole “fair prize goldfish” soap a try. I was pretty excited at first. To start with I did a pour in a cello bag that I had balanced in a coffee mug so it wouldn’t collapse as I poured soap into it, then added the toy goldfish into the soap and kept it balanced with a Popsicle stick until it partially set.

20131024-011641.jpg Unfortunately there was a slight bit of oil on it from handling it a bit too much as I tried to get it down into the soap without plopping upside down, so the soap clouded a bit. After a partial set I added another 2.5 oz of soap “water” to finish it off. It was then that I discovered that I had experienced a brain fart after the first pour and forgot to do a light spritz with alcohol to break the surface bubbles. As you can see in the following picture there is a straight line of bubbles clearly marking the top of the first layer.

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Ugh. To top it all off I had to hold the bag in a slightly scrunched and rounded position until the second layer of soap partially set so that it looked more realistic, like how a bag with water in it would look. Between the extra labor (I won’t go into how hard it is to try to keep a top heavy item upright with a stick when you have a tremor. Lol.) and the mishaps, I don’t think I’ll be revisiting this soap concept for a little while. *grin*

The second mishap I admit I am still a bit miffed over. It was actually suppose to be a simple Christmassy bar soap. I poured a layer of dark green soap in bar molds and after a partial set I poured a layer of dark red, both layers in the new Christmas Eve Cookies scent. The colors massively changed after they set and then when you see the soap from overhead it has the oddest color; definitely not Christmassy.

20131024-012106.jpg I think I’ll try the next batch with a solid base, so there aren’t jewel tones that allow you to see the other color. I hoped jewel tones would work out though, since you can get deeper, richer colors in a clear soap. At least they smell great, so I’ll cut them up, melt them, and give them a new life. Not a total flop.

I totally like how the other four batches turned out, thankfully. *grin* I decided to experiment with the super rouge powdered pigment with some additional iridescent sparkles. When the light is just right the soaps look like Dorothy’s red shoes, fitting since I live in KS, and I loved the look so much that I did a second mold with the color. *laugh* I made a batch of small flowers to embed into other soaps, like my glitter bars from earlier this year, and then a few big hearts that I think would be really neat in a girl’s Christmas pampering basket.

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I decided to shake things up, still thinking of the girl’s basket, and did bubblegum guest rounds, but sprinkled some hot pink powdered pigment in there since I loved the look of it when I accidentally did that in some stars a few months back. Simple, but with a little pizzaz.

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Lastly I went back to the Christmas Eve Cookies (can’t tell I started to really like it, can you? *laugh*) and made another batch of flower embeds for the girl’s basket or for individual glitter bars in holiday scents to sell. I decided to add some white soap to the clear, which gave the embeds a really neat look that I love. Not a color that is a traditional holidays variety, but a mellow hue that can be enjoyed or displayed after the Christmas tree has been packed up.

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To top it all off I did a seriously overdue in depth cleaning of my supply shelves. It was hard, but I made myself part with scents that I really don’t like or that had expired, and organized all of the scents into categories to make it a lot easier to find the FOs/EOs I’m looking for. It turned into a 12 hour project, but I’m so proud of myself, and I feel all pumped up to keep chipping away at my holiday business to do list. (Shush now – I didn’t make a spreadsheet this time. I kept the nerd flag at half mast and stuck with a list. *sassy grin*) All in all it felt great to get to experiment with the new pigments and FO. I have that euphoria in my veins from getting to be all creative and artistic. *happy sigh* If this sticks around I will be able to get some new products out of my brain and available in time for the holidays. Warning – I am putting you on high alert now. If I can keep this up and make the new extra pampering line, then I will ask you to join me in a hearty round of the happy dance. *grin* Although no twerking allowed! *laugh* We’ll stick to a platonic jig, okay? ๐Ÿ™‚

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