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A Few Ideas

I mentioned last night that I have been percolating a few ideas, so I thought tonight I’d share (warn you). *grin*

First, as I just barely mentioned last night, I’m thinking of doing a “Scent Census”. Catchy, right?! I was watching a cooking show and they had a “soup census”, which got one hamster racing like crazy on its hamster wheel and made me start playing with the name and the idea of doing another poll. I think maybe the fun name will help tempt a few to look and click.

My favorite idea that I’m juggling around is to make a few companion pieces for the Monsters Away Spray. I’ve been thinking it’d be neat to use my herbs (no, no, I don’t live in a friendly state, so mine are literal herbs and not something that could make a person giggly or crave snacks) that are too old to use in actual bath products, but still have some aromatherapy power left. I still have quite a few bath tea bags left and I thought the herbs in a bath tea bag would work rather well as a sachet. I could use chamomile, lavender, and maybe peppermint in there. The Spray is for direct Monster fighting, whereas the sachet would be to help keep those monsters repelled or to help keep them away from the bed when slipped under the pillow. *grin* Maybe even a cute little bag that the two products will fit into for easy gift giving, too. Plus, I have rethought the idea of how to actually promote the spray. Nobody felt their kid would be into a little amateur acting to get a marketing picture taken when I had debated a silly handmade monster head or even a costume mask, but I’ve been thinking maybe a simpler and truly realistic picture would work. The closet door is open in the background, the darkness deep and completing obscuring the items inside the closet. A child is in the forefront pointing at the closet and you see an adult’s hand at the other edge of the picture reaching out and spraying some Monsters Away Spray at the invisible closet monster that their little one is certain is there when the lights are out. Or maybe even under the bed, if it was dark enough to be believable, yet light enough in the room to actually get a good shot. Most likely anything involving a kid is going to be massively more interesting than a picture of the bottle. Lol.

To round off this post I thought I’d also mention that I’m playing with the idea of soap “cake” slices again for Christmas, although probably not for combos this time. I was thinking of using the Lime Margarita FO and making a bright green soap cake and piping white soap frosting onto it. Maybe do a Christmas Cake that looks more like a poke cake or fruit cake, with diced brightly dyed clear pieces embedded within a chocolaty cake, so you see the pretty squares all along the sides and as you wear it down washing. That one may look a lot better in my mind than it could ever be in reality though. *laugh* A red velvet soap cake is another idea. I bought some Americana red soap colorant bars the last time I did a big order and I bet that would give a nice rich dark color when used with a tiny sliver of black colorant too. Pipe on some white or off white soap frosting on it, too, of course, unless I get creative with a middle layer and can’t figure out how to cost effectively package a slice with that frosting on it.

If you think something sounds like a fun idea and maybe the next great seller for this Christmas, please don’t hesitate to comment. In the meantime pamper on, Garth. ūüôā

Soapsicles

I wanted to share my new soapsicles. They turned out pretty cute and in time for Valentine’s (although I’ve never sold an item for the holiday lol).

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One even has a little pampering built in; poppy seeds suspended in the soap and then a concentration of them at the tip to give some stronger exfoliation. The color came out a little more tomato than strawberry, but I love the poppy seeds with the Strawberry Jam FO. The pink ones are in Cotton Candy. At $2.75 for the strawberry soapsicles and $3.25 for the cotton candy, I think they’d make reasonable Valentine’s Day or Just Because gifts.

Do you have big plans for the day? We aren’t too into celebrating it, but I appreciate any excuse that lets me indulge in chocolate. ūüôā

A Sticky Situation

Last night I finally got to try out the new Popsicle mold. I figured that I could use it for Valentine’s or Easter, too, so I wrote out recipes for a few varieties that I could do in pinks and reds. It wasn’t until I actually started to work with the ingredients that things got a bit iffy.

I decided that Cotton Candy would be a good scent to pair with a pink soap, and then decided that this would be the perfect time to try out the tutti frutti dye powder now that I know how to keep it from speckling, since it’s neon pink.

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Now that my wholesaler has a Q and A section I read that the powder should be mixed in a bit of glycerin and used then as a normal dye. They mentioned that their small hand mixer worked wonderfully for this.

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It took 15 minutes to get it like this. Seriously?! The little hand mixer is battery operated and has a little design flaw apparently. While doing this I found (Larry reminded me that I learned this lesson before, but I inconveniently forgot it apparently) the battery is located right under the lever that gets pushed down to operate the mixer. When the mixer runs very long that battery begins to heat up that little tab of plastic to a very uncomfortable temperature. At 15 minutes I was doing the potty dance from the pain, trying to use a hot pad (which didn’t work), and switching hands, since my fingers were turning almost as bright as that dye. *laugh* Thankfully there were only two speckles that I could still find, so I just fished them out, and decided to keep trucking.

Funny thing about that Cotton Candy FO…there’s so much vanilla that it’s a very yellow oil. When mixed with the soap it remained very yellow. Usually an extra drop or two of coloring will cover that up, so I figured it would be no big deal.

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That is after 44 (!!) drops of neon pink and in desperation 2 drops of strawberry red. I don’t think it would have gotten to this mild of a pink without the heavy red, either. I have never used so much dye before. (Never fear, though, because I tested a little bit of the soap to make sure that the bubbles were still white. If the bubbles are colored, then there’s too much color, but as long as they’re clear/white, then you won’t dye the poor user.)

I looked up the mold on my wholesaler’s site and it said that there are 10 cavities that hold 3 oz each, so I did a test run with 12 oz of soap. Somehow I only managed to get 3 1/2 soaps when I poured though. Usually soap is right on, whereas lotion has a lot of loss during the mixing and pouring, so I figure they don’t intend for the user to fill the cavity completely. How was I to know that? Lol

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I also discovered that the craft sticks don’t fit snuggly in the slots on the lid, like it seemed. They kept slipping down into the soaps and I didn’t realize when I held them until the soap started a soft set that my tremor had made the sticks a little…uneven. Yeah, we’ll go with uneven. I won’t use the terms I used when crying to Larry about the disaster. *laugh* After I got over my pity party I decided to unmold them and check for speckles. That’s what I decided, at least. Thankfully Larry hadn’t left for work yet, because apparently it’s not a one man job. They didn’t want to come out at all. Unlike regular silicone molds I could just flip the cavity inside out, either, because of the shape. Between Larry’s strength and long fingers that could hold the entire length of the cavity to twist and cause air bubbles, which allow the soaps to release, and my pulling on the sticks, we finally got them out. I had been justifiably concerned about pulling on the sticks, since they started to slide out of the soap a little. That’s how tight they fit. (I could have put the soap in the freezer to shrink it a little and see if they’d pop out then, but that usually makes the soap sweat and I think it decreases the durability of the mold, not to mention the soap, so I try to avoid it.)

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They might have some flaws, but at first glance I thought they weren’t too bad, until I noticed this…

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Apparently where the mold has a connecting strip from cavity to cavity it tends to create a little dent in the middle of each bar. Lol. I throw in the towel.

After a few uses I don’t think anyone will see the dent anymore, but it does make it a little less pleasing on the eye to sell them, unfortunately. (Not that I could sell this wildly crooked set anyway.) Shrink wrapping the soap and maybe adding a small bow where it meets the stick should help, but now I know that I can’t do multiple varieties in one setting and that I can’t unmold these little cuties on my own. That’s a little irritating considering how much I paid for the dang thing, but Larry came up with an idea to hopefully solve the sticks moving, at least.

I’ll experiment again in a day or two and will see if I can suspend some poppy seeds in some of the pops for some Strawberry Jam Popsicle soaps. Since anything that can go wrong does go wrong when I’m the one doing it, I’m betting that the seeds sink and that the dye will go wonky, which might be in my favor, since then you won’t see the seeds in a big clump at the end of the soap. *grin*

Okay, enough sarcasm and self teasing for the moment. I’m not too upset with the flaws and I had fun learning some new things (like to use a stronger mixer if I do powdered dye again!). I’m off to do some pampering and take a nap. I hope you have a day filled with just as much relaxation and that you’re also learning to not be so hard on yourself too. ūüôā

Inspiration

If you have looked at my recent Pinterest activity (if you didn’t know I was on there, then it’s easy to find me by searching for Georgia Cornelison for the pinner), then you know that I’ve been playing with ideas for some themed combos/baskets. One that I love thinking about is a monster themed basket. Most of the items can be standard products with little twists, much like the Redneck options, but with a decidedly more…morbid twist. *grin*

One such item that keeps rattling around in my mind is a bubble bath – er, blood bath. *laugh* I saw a pin for a container of red bubble bath that resembled a bag of blood/plasma. I can’t tell you how excited the Poe-loving side of me is over that idea. With this rattling around while I looked over the end of year sale my wholesaler had yesterday I ended up buying a set of zipper bags. They hold around 2 ounces and even stand on their own! How cool is that?! Anyway, most mention using it for samples of bath salts, which I will definitely be trying too, but I want to see if a little “blood bath” will work in the bag. Check this out:

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Although I’m trying to decide which zombie and Frankenstein items to narrow in on (so many ideas!!), I decided to also splurge and get the really nice mold for Popsicle soaps. Look at this little guy:

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It was a bit more than I usually want to spend on materials I can’t really justify as necessities, but it’s silicone and guaranteed to work for soaps. I loved the failed Popsicle soaps I made before the holidays and knew I really wanted some good Popsicle soaps all year around. I saw some really wicked (oh man, I almost went to the “wicked cool”, so you know I’m getting all wound up about this) Popsicle soaps that were in Halloween colors and they embedded toy spiders in the ends. Wow!! How awesome would a play on that look in that Monster combo?! I’ve thought of doing some Frank colored ones or some toxic yellow ones. *grin* There are SO many options!

As you can tell, I’m having a lot of fun looking at the brilliance and creativity of others, and in thinking of what possibilities would work for me. I am so excited. *smile* I’m still looking into trademark issues for other theme ideas, but I am pretty set on a few things. I want a zombie repellent soap, a blood bath, and a demented Popsicle soap, bare minimum. Isn’t it fun to think of all of the options?

Anyway, I don’t want to keep you reading if you’re still suffering the after effects of a late night. I hope you’re enjoying your New Year and have a wonderful rest of the week!

Blessed

Remember that slice mold I used for the “Slice of Peppermint Pie” and “Slice of Roadkill Remains”?¬† I’m still obsessed with it.¬† *grin*¬† This time I went a little more traditional and did a version of a fudge ripple cake.¬† You can’t tell that I’m in the mood for the delicious baked goods of the season, right?¬† *laugh*¬† I thought that a fudge ripple would look awesome and would break up the colors a bit, while letting me avoid trying to find more than an hour’s worth of patience.¬† I admit that I’ve been pretty restless lately, so I’ve been sticking with quick gratification, and this was perfect for it.¬† What do you think?

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I planned to frost the slices Monday since I knew that Miss Ash would be here to help, but there were a few complications.¬† *begins to bite my lip while trying to find a way to make it sound a little better than it really ended up being…*¬† Things started out pretty well.¬† I had all of the ingredients gathered and was measuring the FO when she came in.¬† While she filled me in on school and the other fun details of young teen life I started to heat the soap.¬† With her here I figured a half batch of bath frosting would be a wise decision, so we could have some fun together, yet still get to the bigger project that I really needed an extra set of hands for.¬† I wanted to get Ash used to using the scale and how to tare it, so I had her measure out the bath whip.¬† I should have known when the spatula bent as she tried to scoop some out that this wasn’t going to go well.¬† (Our woodstove is still being repaired, so the house is still pretty chilly, but I had been active and quickly overheat, so I didn’t notice this.¬† I’ve thought through all of this for hours and finally realized that this was the first domino that fell.¬† It’s only right to fill you in on my realization.¬† *laugh*)¬† Well, with a metal spoon and a butter knife we were able to get the whip out, although, yet again, warning bells should have gone off, but I didn’t notice that the spoon got impressively bent during this task.¬† *face palm*¬† Miss Ash is very deliberate and cautious, so things took a bit longer and the melted soap began to set up slightly.¬† (Yeah, those dag on warning bells again…*sigh*)¬†¬†I showed her how to get the mixer set up and started mixing the whip with some glycerin I noticed that it didn’t have the consistency that I remembered from when I made the cookie wash soaps last year.¬† I held out hope and¬†gave her the melted soap to add to the mixture.¬† As she did this I added some stabilized FO (so that it won’t discolor later from the massive amount of vanilla that is in Christmas Eve Cookies, the¬†FO I used throughout all of the soap layers).¬† While I was¬†putting a few things away I¬†heard some weird noises¬†coming from the mixer.¬† (You’re welcome to shake your head¬†at this point.¬† We both know this is just going to get worse.¬† Lol.)¬†¬†I turned off the mixer and poked at the mixture with a spatula, and realized that the soap had solidified between¬†taking too long during prep and it being too cold in the room.¬† Hey,¬†bath and body products require a lot of quick problem solving and that was basically my career before I became disabled, so I¬†did a little quick thinking and put the bowl in a sink full of¬†hot water, and had¬†Miss Ash keep rotating¬†the bowl around, so the soap would melt off of the sides of the bowl.¬† I figured the whip attachment would also help¬†(realistically I should have used it in the beginning, but it was the least of the¬†problems really).¬† After things were pliable again we whipped the mixture for a few minutes and I¬†started to add more glycerin.¬† This mixture had started to look really weird, so I figured maybe a little more moisture would stabilize it.¬† Nope.¬† *laugh*¬† I turned it off after a few minutes and packaged it in an empty jar to deal with later, so I could salvage the rest of the night.¬† I’ll spare you any pictures, because it looks like curdled milk at this point, and somehow the smell got a bit distorted.¬† I can still detect the vanilla, although there is definitely some funk going on, while Larry insists (with a very puzzled look¬†of “Why in the world are you topping the soap with…”) that it smells like burnt buttered popcorn.¬† Yum.¬† Nothing like curdled milk and burnt buttered popcorn to make you feel pampered, right?¬† *grin*

Thankfully the big project went well.¬† I needed to make a huge batch of heavy duty sugar scrub for Larry and then a little to have on hand.¬† With the movements and shaking I have some trouble with¬†keeping the jar lip clean when making scrub now, so I figured young hands would be perfect for this.¬† It took a little longer than I had intended, since we¬†took time for¬†explanations and demonstrations of things that she was unfamiliar with, but we ended up with something like 70 ounces worth of scrub.¬†¬†*happy dance*¬† Thankfully I¬†use repurposed empty supply jars for his items and jarring went pretty¬†well.¬† I have to admit that I felt like a superhero by the end, because Miss Ash had learned so much in the two hours together, and she totally had that awesome “mind blown” look going on.¬† *grin*¬† She learned how to use and read a pipette, why sugar¬†is used in scrub, how can sugar be safe for your skin if your dentist doesn’t want you to¬†eat it, what pumice powder is and how it works, what poppy seeds are (let me tell you that the seeds are incredible for¬†heavy duty exfoliating!),¬†what humectants are and how they work in soap, and how to convert measurements.¬† She’s going to be SO far ahead of her classmates now.

To make the evening end on an even better note she told me that she always loves coming over to work with me.¬† Not only does she get to do “cool things”, but it always smells so “awesome” in my house.¬†¬†Then¬†Miss Ash’s mom came over to pick Ash up and bought a Redneck¬†Gift Basket.¬† Yay!

Although the frosting was a disgusting failure I am pretty happy overall with our time.¬† The actual¬†cake soap still looks fantastic and¬†I was smart enough to not try the frosting on ay of the soap, so I can still¬†try again.¬† Larry’s stocked up on his scrub.¬†¬†Miss Ash lit up like a Christmas Tree when I surprised her with a few of the glitter bar soaps that she had made at her last visit, so she can give them as gifts or show them off.¬†¬†Best of all, we both learned a lot.¬†¬†The youthful way of just shrugging off failures and¬†just look to what’s next instead is something I have always struggled with, but with her literally turning and asking “what’s next?” I was finally able to.¬† I’m still¬†smacking my forehead, but I’m doing a lot better with just shrugging it off and laughing.¬† And Miss Ash learned a lot of little tidbits that should help with school, and hopefully even a few skills to help her with life.

This Christmas I think the best gift will be this.¬† Knowing that a young girl can see me as a¬†kind of rock star and not see the things that I can no longer do.¬† That I was able to have a good impact and that I got to see that thirst for information light up in her eyes.¬† No matter if the pies burn, the turkey turns out dry, or I have a fall and can’t walk between now and Christmas, I’m blessed.¬† And all because¬†I believe we should all¬†get pampered sometimes.¬† I couldn’t ask for much more.

I wish the same for you this holiday.¬† Whatever your beliefs and your traditions, I wish you happiness, personal development, and¬†the feeling that no matter how different you are, or¬†how your life has changed, that you¬†are still a rock star in somebody’s eyes.

A Little Bit of Fun

I decided the other day to go back to just amusing myself and made a couple of soaps that made me smile. The first batch were some simple guest rounds with the holiday erasers embedded in them. The reindeer is just so cheerful. *smile* In order to get the embeds to show well I had to warm and brighten the overall picture up, so the soaps are more of a clear with the faintest gold to them, and not so yellow.

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After those I decided to play with dye. I haven’t played with swirling colors in a while now and got a little wild with the toothpick (stirring). I had a few that became a blended color because I got a little too into it. Lol. I love some of the swirls though!

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Gingerbread people followed, although I use that term quite loosely, since I went incredibly unconventional with them. A bright pink with glitter. Mawahaha. *wink*

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My last soaps didn’t turn out unfortunately. I tried to embed the centipedes I had found and although they looked great at first, the soaps became cloudy. I rinsed them and everything, so I suspect a little chemical reaction between the material and the FO. They wouldn’t fit in any other mold, so they were poured in a brownie mold I never used (one of those that’s suppose to make every brownie an edge brownie since people supposedly like those best. Um, I’ll let those mysterious people have those pieces and I’ll take care of those ooey gooey center pieces for them. *grin*).

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Although the last batch didn’t come out, I enjoyed myself. Nothing fancy or anything to tweet home about (especially for me since I haven’t joined the twitter bandwagon), but some fun little soaps. I got a few supplies today to keep the ball rolling, too. A new bubble wash that suspends additives, so I can put the centipedes or jojoba beads in some bottles of wash (we won’t talk about what happens if you try adding jojoba beads to a non-suspension formula…ugh!). I also got these cute little guys to embed and maybe even put on top of some fancy bar soaps (thank you Pinterest for that bit of inspiration).

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For a little size perspective here’s a picture of one in my palm. It’s plain adorable!

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With that little bit of cuteness I bid you adieu. I hope you are enjoying the middle of the holiday season and have a splendid weekend! ūüôā

‘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. ūüôā

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