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Monthly Archives: June 2013

Goat Milk Soap with Oatmeal & Honey

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The very first batch of soap I ever made was an Oatmeal, Milk and Honey batch. Not the easiest to start with since you’re dealing with the sugars in the honey and the fatty properties of the milk. Combine those with lye and you could possibly have a superheated soap volcano on your hands. I was lucky though, I soaped at a super low temp and followed a great recipe.

I’m going to share some tips with you that have helped from that very first batch to present day batches. I used to make a 100% Goats Milk soap using the ice cube method of milk soap making. You simply freeze your milk and slowly add your lye to the milk to melt it. I always ended up with an almost sulfur like smell and occasionally would burn the milk resulting in bright orange soap batter.

After attending the Soap Makers Conference in North Carolina this past May, I learned a new technique from the lovely Joanna owner of Absolute Soap. Seriously, when you have a moment, buy her soaps and scrubs!!! They are amazing.
Anywho….she taught us a new technique that I’ve been using in place of the ice cube technique. NO MORE STINKY SOAP!

Take you’re water amount from your recipe and split it in half. Half will be the water plus the lye and the other half will be your milk. For example: if your recipe calls for a total of 12oz of water…6oz plus your lye amount will be your lye water and the remaining 6oz will be your goats milk.

Prepare your super intense lye water and let cool. Add your milk to your oils. See the pic below…

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Another tip I have concerns adding honey to your soap. I premix my honey with equal amounts of warm, distilled water. Meaning, if my recipe calls for 2oz of honey, I mix in 2oz of warm to hot distilled water. This prevents any clumping that can occur with the honey. The pic below shows (from left to right) my essential oils, my ground oatmeal and my honey water mixture.

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Have you ever noticed the cool as school honeycomb pattern on handcrafted soaps? The trick…bubble wrap. Secrets revealed!!

Ok…now I’m ready to make some soap!

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So, I’ve cooled my lye water mixture down to 75 degrees and keep my oils & milk within 10 degrees of my lye water. I soap at such a low temp because I know that the honey and the milk will superheat in the mold. To prevent seizing, I add my honey mixture and my essential oils to my oils & milk. Then I add the lye water.

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I mix to light trace then add in my oatmeal. Mix well until all of the oatmeal is incorporated and there are no funky oatmeal lumps. Then I pour it into my mold.

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I top my soap with an extra layer of bubble wrap to achieve that honeycomb look.

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TIP: If the soap gets too hot, chuck it in the refrigerator to cool it down. Wait 24 hours to unmold and you’re all set! Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

Farmers Market Fun

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Today was a fantastic day at my local Farmers Market. Before I made the leap to start selling at my market, I was clueless and a bit terrified. Clueless, because I didn’t really know what I needed to make it work or how to set up my product in a flattering way. Terrified because I was literally putting myself out there for people to judge my product, pricing, packaging and booth set up.

I’ve been doing my market now for a while and I just wanted to take the time to share some tips/ tricks that I’ve learned when it comes to set up and such.

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Be true to who you are and your brand. Your brand, your products…they’re really just an extension of who you are. Make it show in your booth set up but keep it simple and accessible for people.

The minimum market/ craft fair equipment needed would be:
*A 10’x10′ pop up canopy. I use a cheap-o EZ Up I found at a local sports store.
*1-3 tables ranging from 4′ to 6′ each. I use a 6′ and a 4′ table that I purchased from WalMart.
*Linens to cover your tables. I purchased fitted tablecloths from Amazon for less than $20 each and added my polka dotted tablecloths for some additional texture and color.
*Display pieces for your products. Be creative with this! It can be baskets, cake stands, specialty soap racks (I got mine off of Etsy at Tough Timbers and painted them), plant stands, decorative bowls, I use a refrigerator shelf for my dry shampoos…anything can be used as long as it fits your brand and product. I like to use varying heights to display my products so keep your eyes peeled for tabletop shelving or something similar.
*I recommend getting a Square Card reader or something similar so you can accept credit cards. Half of my market sales are via cc. Think of the sales you may miss out on if you don’t have one. It just makes sense. For cash, pick up a cash box at your local WalMart. They’re cheap and easy to deal with.
*SIGNAGE!!! People want to know what things cost. I print up my signage and put them in frames. To label my soap, I cut the name of my soap off of my soap label and stick it to my soap display.
*Offer bundle deals. I charge $6 per bar of soap or 4 for $20. I mainly sell the bundles because of the value associated with bundle pricing. So you can bet I offer bundle deals for my lip butters, scrubs and body butters too!
*Bring your business cards and hang a sign that has your branding on it. Your company name, logo, website, pics of your product and where you make your product. I get both my banner and cards through Vistaprint.
*Don’t forget a chair, bottled water, snacks and most importantly….COFFEE!!!! 😉

The pics below detail my booth set up. You can always set up your booth in your backyard or garage to get a feel for what you want it to look like. Now get your bootie out there and sell some soap! xxoo

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The Making of ‘Merica

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Every once in a while I’ll intentionally plan a batch of soap in my head. Sometimes it doesn’t go as planned…this time however, I got lucky.

I used my normal slow moving recipe for this batch. Typically I’ll soap around 75-80 degrees. This time I got impatient and soaped at 98 degrees with a steep water discount. Not the best idea when I’ve decided to use a fragrance I’ve never used before. If you can believe it…I don’t take the time to test my fragrances. 😛 There’s that impatience I mentioned earlier…

I made some star embeds using some white Melt and Pour soap and scented them with Black Raspberry Vanilla to mix with my main fragrance, Red Apple.

Once I added the Red Apple fragrance to my batch, it instantly turned it yellow. I moved on anyway hoping that the color morph wouldn’t stick.

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It’s hard to see in this photo but there is a yellow tinge to each color.

I then started to layer my red and white colors. My batch did set up fairly quickly as you can see on the next pic.

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I layered the red and white about halfway up the mold then added my blue. Once I put down a layer of my blue, I added my embed stars.

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I topped the stars with the rest of my blue. Using squirt bottles, I added the red and white soap stripes. This was rather difficult given the thickness of the soap so it gives the finished batch more of a rustic look. Leaving half of the top blue, I used some additional soap embed stars to decorate the blue portion.

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This afternoon I popped the soap out of the mold and this was the end result. Thank goodness the yellowing I experienced didn’t stick!

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Newest Soaps

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This past week has been a slow soap making week for me due to some wonderful custom orders I was busy filling. I was able to make some restock batches of my Coconut Lime Verbena Soap and my Lemon Lavender Soap.

The Coconut Lime Verbena was made with Coconut Milk this time. It was my first time using coconut milk and I absolutely LOVE the finished product:

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Coconut Lime Verbena in the mold

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Coconut Lime Verbena cut

Next up was my Lemon Lavender Soap. I love making this soap because it’s a hybrid of 2 different soaping techniques. Tiger Strip Swirl on the bottom and Mantra Swirl on top.

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Lemon Lavender in the mold

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Lemon Lavender cut

I have to add my favorite pic of this soap. It’s got a little heart in it! Good to know that my soap loves me back.

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You’ll be able to find this soap and many more at Baby Duck Soap on Etsy.