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Busy Duckie!

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Busy Duckie!

Between settling into the new house, stocking up all things Baby Duck Soap, implementing changes, slinging soap and chasing after a 3 1/2 year old all day….I’ve managed to keep myself busy.
My local Farmers Market has been pretty darn fantastic thus far. (It’s in Coos. Bay, Oregon on Wednesdays if you’re ever in the area.)
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Soon I’ll be adding a second market, the Bandon Marketplace on Fridays. Of course, we’ll be enrolling our Baby Duck in daycare so I can get some work done!
The Coos Bay Farmers Market has been an eye opener. My customers LOVE my bath bombs!! Thanks to Holly Port and her new book, Make It Fizz I’m finally making bath bombs LIKE A BOSS! But seriously, they used to be a huge pain in the arse until I met Holly…then she changed my world. Recently, my bath bomb line has expanded into a ‘newer’ product, Duck Toots ~ Bath Fizzy Powder. Bath Fizzy Powder portioned out into four 1.5oz bags, no smashing of bath bombs required!

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I’ve added a new product to the Etsy Shop this past week and they’ve been a HUGE hit at my local market… Herbal Lotion Bars These lotion bars get their start 2 months before they’re actually mixed, melted and molded. I sun-infuse rice bran oil with a variety of herbs for two months. Then I mix this infusion with Shea butter, Cocoa butter, Mango butter, Candelilla wax, Jojoba oil and Fractionated Coconut oil. These are amazing!!

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Behind the scenes, I’ve been working on SEO and Relevancy for my Etsy Shop. My brain has been hurting trying to figure out what the best approach is to get found by LOTS of people. I’ve implemented some changes already with positive results. Now I’m in a wait and see pattern to see if some of the other changes will make a difference.
I’m also taking on the task of re-photographing all of my products. I’m aiming for a streamlined, cohesive but whimsical look. I’m taking stylized pics on a white backdrop with a small duck in the background to add a touch of playfulness. Here’s a practice shot I took…it’s a bit too bright so I’ll be tweaking that as I go.

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Beefing up my soap stock is my favorite thing to do!! The past few days have brought about new batches of Apricot Freesia, Lavender Lemon, Tea Tree Grapefruit and Just Ducky~Oregon Style. Enjoy these soap pics while I go unpack my soap dungeon! ❤️

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Soap Guild Conference Tomfoolery

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Soap Guild Conference Tomfoolery

This year I had an inside look at the behind the scenes of the largest soap conference in the nation, The Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetics Guild Conference. Working on the crew, I saw a huge ballroom and several pallets filled with boxes, transformed into a beautiful vendor and raffle area.
No bones about it… This. Was. Work!! Most days, we’d report down by 6 or 7 am and work until about 5pm.
I was tasked to put together badges with my most favorite Sud Bud and partner in crime, Charlene Simon of Bathhouse Soapery and Caldarium. All 422 badges took us two full days to complete. Easy peasy?

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Before the conference started, I was one of six amazing soap makers who recorded a video for the HSCG’s new learning library. Look for it soon. It’ll be accessible to all members. My video featured an in-the-pot-swirl topped with a mica oil swirl.
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The next day, the conference started. Which meant, registration was in full swing. We pretty much killed it! Getting everyone checked in and loaded up with their AMAZING goodie bags.

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I haven’t really mentioned it yet, but we stayed at an amazing resort! The Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson. Wow is all I have to say. It was gorgeous.

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The entire week was incredible. It flew by in a crazy blur leaving me covered in blisters and badge back…but it was seriously worth it!! Meeting up with some new friends and old friends. I wish I had more time to spend with everyone but there is always next year 😉

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A few more highlights, the newest board members were elected…no I was not elected but was MORE than honored to even be included amongst such amazingly talented soapmakers! Benjamin Aaron, Holly Port and Charlene Simon were elected. Look for some pretty outstanding things from them!

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I have to mention here that Leigh O’Donnell is just absolutely amazing to work with. Kudos to her ability to reign the likes of Charlene and I in all while organizing this ginormous event.

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Now I’m back home with my two most favorite boys! Gearing up for a huge market season and getting acquainted with our new house. ❤️

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Market Booth Design – Shabby Chic Fabric Garland

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My first Farmers Market of the season is quickly approaching (Wednesday). I’m ahead of the curve since I’ve wrapped all of my soap for the market and unearthed my booth fixings from the storage unit.
As I was unpacking my linen, I realized that my Christmas garland was still attached to the tablecloths. I loved the extra pop of whimsy the garland added to my cozy booth.

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Since it’s no longer Christmas… I decided to make my own year round garland using fabric scraps that I had laying around from some previous unfinished projects.
Starting with the leftover fabric, I folded each piece in half and stacked them on top of each other. I cut down into the fabric about 2 inches. Then continued to cut about 1.5 inch chunks along the folded seam of the fabric. These measurements don’t have to be exact.

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Now for the shabby portion of this garland… Using the precut chunks as my guide, I ripped each piece of fabric into strips.

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Here’s what the pile of strips look like when finished:

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I cut about 9ft of jute string earlier to tie my fabric pieces onto. I knotted off each end to keep the strips in place.
To tie the strips onto the jute, place a folded strip of fabric under the jute. Folded seam at the top.

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Gather the bottom tail of the strip over the top of the jute. Thread the tail through the folded seam.

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With one hand holding the jute, pull the tail down to tie off the strip of fabric.

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Continue tying the strips to the jute until you’ve reached the end. Some finished pics:

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This is a pretty forgiving project. You can space your fabric strips close together or keep them farther apart. Whichever you prefer.
You can use any manner of fabric, ribbon or burlap to achieve the same general look.
I’ll be posting pics of the Market booth with this garland on my Facebook Page on Wednesday!

How It’s Made ~ Bloom

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How It’s Made ~ Bloom

There are a handful of batches that I lovingly call my ‘Anxiety Batch’. This lovely soap definitely qualifies for that distinction. Floral fragrances are known for acceleration. Combining Honeysuckle and Rose definitely makes this a tricky batch. Why not throw caution to the wind and combine a mica oil swirl and a two toned piped soap rose?

This batch combines two techniques. The prep work consists of the mica oil, the color for the main batch, the rose color and prepping the piping bags for the two toned roses.

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Once the entire batch is brought to trace, I pour out about 3 1/2 cups into the pink mica container and a teeny bit of white soap. These are left unscented and set aside.

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Next I add titanium dioxide to the rest of the batch and hand whisk in the fragrance to *hopefully* slow down the acceleration of the soap. The white soap is then poured into the slab mold.

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Using a pipette, I add vertical lines of mica oil. A good rule of thumb is 1 tsp mica to 1 TBSP oil! it should have the consistency of fresh nail polish.

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Grabbing my skewer, I swirled the mica oil lines from the top left hand corner of the mold using this design:

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UGH! As you can see, my fragrance accelerated. Oh well… Using a tried and true advanced technique 😉 I banged the hell out of the mold on the counter. Moving on… It’s time to add the dividers and move onto the roses.

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Piping soap is easier than you may think but you do need to work quickly once the soap reaches the perfect consistency. I added a total of 0.5 oz of fragrance to the pink and white soap to help speed up trace. I know when the soap is ready to pipe when my spatula stands straight up in the soap without tipping over at all.

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There are two different methods to make a two toned soap rose. The first is taking two smaller piping bags, one pink & one white. Combine those two bags into a larger piping bag with the tip and pipe. I prefer this method but I only had my smaller 12″ bags to work with.
Instead, I took my frosting bag with the rose decorating tip (I used a Wilton 1M) and added four thin lines of white running up the sides of the frosting bag. It may be helpful to see a pic:

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To do this, I put the white soap in a frosting bag and cut a very small hole on the bottom to control the flow of soap. If you’ve never piped soap or a cupcake, put your frosting bag in a tall glass and wrap the top of the bag around the mouth of the glass. This helps stabilize the bag until you’re ready to pipe.
Now it’s time to add the pink soap and start piping! Start with your tip perpendicular to the top of your bar.

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Add a small dollop to get the rose started.

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Staying perpendicular to the soap wrap the tip counterclockwise around the first dollop of soap while applying gentle pressure to the top of your piping bag.

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To finish your rose, stop applying pressure to the frosting bag and pull up quickly.

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Voila! Soap Roses!!! Feel free to practice this technique ahead of time. You can use regular frosting or you can make a small batch of soap and pipe a bunch of roses on wax paper. Sell those beauties if you can since they make a beautiful small bar of soap!
Here’s the final product in the mold.

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Enjoy a few shots of this soap from my first batch of Bloom. (Please note: the base is somewhat different in these first batch pics)

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This bar and more can be found at Baby Duck Soap Co.