Wednesday, September 16, 2009

HALLOWEEN TREAT IDEAS

Halloween is just around the corner!  Here are a few halloween treats that I like to make for the kids and husband. 

Spider Cupcakes
1 (18.25 ounce) package chocolate cake mix
1 pound black shoestring licorice
1 (16 ounce) can white frosting
48 pieces candy corn
48 cinnamon red hot candies
1/4 cup orange decorator sugar

Prepare cupcakes according to package directions. Let cool completely.

Cut licorice into 3 inch sections. Working with one or two cupcakes at a time, so the frosting doesn't set before decorating, frost the cupcakes with the white frosting. Insert licorice pieces into the outer edges of the cupcakes to make the legs of the spider, 3 legs on each side (4 takes up too much space). Place two pieces of candy corn on the front of the cupcake for fangs and use two red hots as eyes. Sprinkle with decorator sugar. Repeat with remaining cupcakes.
 
Ghosts and Goblins Crispy Treat Pops
 
6 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 package (16 oz.) marshmallows
1 package (about 10 oz.) crisp rice cereal, divided
Orange Icing Color
Cookie Sticks (6 or 8-in.)
Halloween Confetti Sprinkles

Spray multi-cavity pumpkin and ghost pan with vegetable pan spray.

In large saucepan, melt butter; add marshmallows. Cook and stir until melted. Divide mixture in half; stir orange icing color into 1 portion. Add half of cereal to orange mixture; mix well. Repeat with remaining cereal and white marshmallow mixture. Press into prepared pan; carefully remove from pan and allow to cool. Insert cookie stick; add confetti eyes and mouth.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

CRAFT TRENDS - WOOL


Just a little crafty info on wool.  It gets such a bad rap, but with fall and winter just around the corner, this might be a good thread to read. 

Even though wool cannot be washed in the washing machine, it is easy to take care of.  It might take a little more time, but it is worth it.  Wool has the ability to wick away moisture but still keep you warm. This makes it the first choice for those who hike, as socks made from wool will keep blisters from forming.


Wool comes from sheep, and is a continually renewable resource. It is harvested usually once a year in spring by giving the sheep a haircut, something that is perfect for those looking to be ecologically responsible. Wool can also be recycled from older outdated sweaters, and re-worked into a new garment.

While most commercially grown flocks are predominantly white, sheep are also found in a variety of colors and textures. Being that it is a protein fiber it also takes dyes easily, making for a wide variety of color ranges and tones.


Knitting with wool is comforting and enjoyable. A quick search will bring up many wonderful and colorful hand spun yarns available ranging from lace to make a heirloom style shawl, to a bulky yarn to make a quick and thick scarf for that last minute gift. A pair of wool mittens or fingerless gloves are perfect to keep your hands warm at the football games. 

And also with the holidays just around the corner, why not make a cute pair of gloves or scarf as a great crafty gift, and it's even more personalized because you made it. 

VIA [HMN]

Monday, September 14, 2009

HOMEMADE SKIN CARE RECIPES


Facials - use this to make your skin smoother

1 tablespoon honey
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon olive oil

Beat the egg yolk with a fork, add the oil and blend well. Add the honey using a spoon that you have rinsed with hot water and blend well again.

Smear it all over your face with your fingers, except do not cover your eyes. Leave it on your face for 15 minutes, then rinse it off.

Lip Treatment for fuller, softer lips

1 small jar of cinnamon oil
1 small jar of vitamin E oil
1 small plastic bottle (travel size)


Place 1 part cinnamon oil and 3 parts vitamin E oil in your plastic bottle. Warm it in the microwave for ten seconds. Then shake the bottle vigorously, until it is blended.

Drop a small amount of the oil mixture on your fingertip and rub on your lips. Repeat this once every two hours for full, soft lips. It may tingle a little, but it is working when it does.

Pore Strips

1 tablespoon of knox gelatin
1 1/2 tablespoon milk

Mix ingredients in bowl. Microwave for 10 seconds or until it forms a paste.  Apply to nose and chin let dry. Remove and see what was living deep in your skin.


VIA [SMARTSKIN]

Thursday, September 3, 2009

SOAP SELL!!!

YEAH!!!  I got a soap sell.  Cucumber Melon. 

Saturday, August 29, 2009

FRAGRANCES CLASSIFIED BY THEIR CHARACTERISTIC



Citrus Scents
Bergamot
Sweet Orange
Tangerine
Lime
Grapefruit
Lemon


Herbal Scents
Rosemary
Sage
Eugalypotus
Bayberry
Peppermint

Floral Scents
Rose
Jasmine
Lavender
Camomile
Ylang ylang
Violet

Fruity Scents                        Spicy Scents                       
Blackberry                                Clove                                   
Mango                                      Cinnamon                             
Coconut                                    Vanilla  

Earthy Scents
Musk
Amber
Patchouli
Sandalwood

via Natural Soapmaking

NOT THE SAME

Check out Not The Same.  They are from Calistoga, California, and their specialty is making natural bath and body products out of mud.  I'm sure you've used a mud mask before, well, just below I've listed some of their mud products that I am sure you will want to check out.  They also have seaweed products. 

 
Calistoga Mud Bath - special blend of muds and salts are great for pain relief, detoxification, increased circulation, and deep relaxation

 
Calistoga Mud Mask - deep cleansing facial and body treatment; blend of mineral rich muds draw out toxins and impurities such as environmental pollutants, black heads and blemishes; as the mask dries it stimulates circulation which tones and tightens your skin and softens wrinkles

Calistoga Seaweed Mask - a blend of seaweeds and mineral rich magnetic clay. Spirulina and Kelp help restore essential minerals and nutrients to your skin that are regenerative and help to eliminate wrinkles. Super-charged Bentonite clay stimulates circulation which tones and tightens your skin. This mask also draws out unheathly skin impurities

Calming Seaweed Bath - special blend of seaweeds, mud and salts are great for drawing out toxins and relieving everyday pain and tension



Products for Outdoorsy Folks:  horseback riders, cyclists, hikers, campers, ranchers,  etc.



They also have aromatherapy sprays that are great for purifying your air.

Friday, August 28, 2009

A LITTLE BIT ABOUT SHEA BUTTER

Shea butter, also known as African karite butter, grows in Central Africa, where it is taken from the fruit off the African butter tree. What's unique about shea butter is that it remains in its original state within bars of soap, unlike other oils that combine and decompose with the sodium hydroxide.

Benefits when added as a soap ingredient:
Great for foot and body care
Hard bar
Stable lather
Conditioning
Nourishing and moisturizing
via Soap Maker's Companion

A LITTLE BIT ABOUT COCONUT OIL


Coconut oil is obtained from copra, which is dried coconut meat (the edible white meat of the coconut). Coconut oil gives soaps wonderful moisturizing and lathering qualities that keeps the soap from becoming rancid.


Benefits when added as a soap ingredient:
Moisturizes and softens
Great fluffy lather
Hard bar
Cleansing

via Soap Maker's Companion

A LITTLE BIT ABOUT COCOA BUTTER

Cocoa butter is obtained from the same bean that chocolate and cocoa come from. The butter is pressed from cocoa beans as a by-product of making chocolate. Cocoa butter is a very hard, saturated fat (solid oils, more stable) that is not easily absorbed by the skin. So when you use it, it's good to use it along with unsaturated oils (liquid, less stable) like olive oil or avocado oil, and this will make it absorb more easily into your skin.

Cocoa butter lays down a protective layer on your skin that holds moisture to your skin, making it a wonderful softener. The purest cocoa butter has a strong scent of chocolate.

Benefits when added as a soap ingredient:
Retains and restores moisture to your skin
Good skin softener
Hard bar
Stable lather
Conditioning

via Soap Maker's Companion

Thursday, August 27, 2009

CRAFT SHOW PICS


Just a few pics of our products and set up from past Craft Shows. 
I just wanted to send out a big Thank You to those who have viewed my products at my Etsy shop; those who have viewed and made comments on my blog; and those who have made purchases.  My last few purchases have been thanks to Kristen, who is running a Give Away on her blog.

DON'T FORGET TO PUT YOUR ENTRY IN:)


Don't forget to put your entry in for my give away at http://yesiknowwhatcausesthat.blogspot.com/2009/08/serendipity-soap-works-review-and.html. The winner will get 1 bar of soap, 1 bath bomb, 1 lip balm, and 1 4 oz. bath salt. And you pick the s...cent. Just go to my Etsy shop and take a look at the scents I offer.

Monday, August 24, 2009

GIVEAWAY CONTEST TOMORROW!!

The author of this blog has offered her help in promoting my products by running a GIVEAWAY:)  The giveaway will be starting tomorrow.  Come and check it out!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

SOME OF MY FAVORITES FROM MY FAVORITE SELLERS ON ETSY

Home on the Range 8x10 Fine Art Photograph from JulieMagers Soulen



Here Kitty Kitty (paper bag album) from TheBeehive



Halloween Pumpkin - Fused Art Glass Dish from FirstLightGlass



Puppy Dog - Please Wipe Your Paws - Wood Sign from Art4MilkBones




Ginger Ballerina - Hand Painted Ceramic Tile Gift from MarvelousArtandTile

METHODS OF SOAP MAKING

Cold Process Method

Cold process soap is known for its hard, long lasting quality. Depending on the oils used, the bar can have great lather (coconut oil has awesome lathering properties), be incredibly mild (olive oil is renowned for its gentle qualities) or be very moisturizing (with the addition of oils, such as shea and cocoa butter or hemp oil).

Melt and Pour Method (great for kids to do)

This is glycerin soap, or clear soap. It can be very nourishing and moisturizing. Glycerin is a “humectant,” so it draws moisture to itself. The theory being that if you wash with glycerin soap, a thin layer of glycerin will remain, drawing moisture to your skin.

Hot Process Method

A newer trend in soap making, with this method, you can make the soap in the morning and use it that very night. It's basically like the CP method, where you combing the oils, water, and lye, except you make the soap on your stove top. Very cool. I haven't tried this method, but it seems relatively easy and convenient.

Rebatching Method

This method is often used to preserve the scent or the healing properties of some essential oils. You take your CP soap, grate it up, heat it up in a kettle over your stove top, and the mixture melts into a wonderful mushy mess.

BATH BOMB RECIPE FOR KIDS:)

Making bath bombs are fun and easy to make. And it's safe enough to make with your kids. They get so excited when they see the fizz action. So here is a basic recipe you can try at home.

You will need:

2 parts baking soda
Witch hazel
Coloring of your choice
Fragrance oil of your choice
Dome Shaped Mold

For the instructions go to http://www.teachsoap.com/bombs.html

MEN'S FRAGRANCES


Roots of Men's Fragrances

* Nero loved roses so much, he would have banquets covered with rose petals

* King David saturated his clothes with aloe and cassia, which is a type of cinnamon.

* Napoleon recognized that strong perfumes would promote laziness and lust, which he thought would prevent his troops from doing their job.

It was "manly" to just simply use water that smelled of citrus, like orange and lime, and a woody base note like sandalwood and cedarwood. Fragrances not acceptable to manly scents were flowers and musk and amber. Poor guys:(

Fragrance Rebels

It wasn't until the 1950's that the fragrance revolution for men took place. Fragrances introduced by Dior House, which we all know is famous for their fashion, were daring because they appealed to both men and women. The floral notes that were unacceptable were now becoming popular, and this opened up a flood of new creations for men.

Colognes like Paco Rabanne pour Homme, Davidoff's Cool Water (my husband loves this one), and New West by Aramis, have all capitalized on this new "openess" in men's fragrances.

Eat your heart out Mr. Napoleon:)

GOT A SWEET TOOTH?


Here is a recipe I found on teachsoap.com. It's not exactly "soap" material, but if you love chocolate and especially Oreos like me, then you'll love this recipe, your little ones will, too.

HISTORY OF FRAGRANCE OILS

The Big Secret
In the beginning, people would have to get their perfumes and fragrances from plant and animal sources.

But in the 1800's, the first synthetic fragrance material was produced, and from then on, perfumes were no longer just for the rich. Perfume houses popped up everywhere, and availability to everyone became much easier and cheaper.

As perfumers were becoming popular, secrecy became a MUST. Formulas for fragrance oils couldn't be patented, so listing ingredients on the perfume would have the risk of other companies copying the perfumer's own creation.
There is actually a law called the "trade secret" law that gives perfumers the benefit of not having to list their formula and ingredients on their product. However, you can always contact your supplier of fragrance oils and ask for a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). This will give you information on safety precautions, and physical and health hazards.


BRAMBLE BERRY WEB SPECIALS


If you go to Bramble Berry and check out their "Web Specials" you will find discounted prices for Christmas molds, colorants, and organic sea salt. I think the Christmas molds are especially cute, and they would work great for melt and pour soap.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

BATH BOMB CUPCAKES JUST LISTED


I just listed my bath bomb cupcakes. I will be listing more of my soaps next.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

DRAGON'S BLOOD SOAP & MORE









Along with my bath bomb cupcakes, I will be also adding these soaps to my Etsy Shop: Lemongrass, Apple Jack & Peel, Dragon's Blood, and Patchouli.




FUTURE POSTS

In some of my upcoming posts, I am going to really delve into the types of ingredients that go into handmade bath and body products, and how they are good for your skin.

I think ingredients is what makes or breaks a product. And I don't know if you can tell by now, but I am definitely a lifer in using handmade bath and body products. Even though I make and sell handmade bath and body products, I don't want to deter people from making their own. There are tons of resources on the web as to recipes, supply stores, and even forums, like the one I like to look at called the Soap Dish.....great wealth of information .

LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL...A REMEDY FOR MOMS WITH LITTLE ONES





For all you moms who have little ones who just don't want to go to sleep when you want them to, I found a few remedies from the Soap Dish Forums that other moms have had success with using Lavender Essential Oil.

1.) Add a little bit to your little one's blanket during the rinse cycle

2.) Add a few drops to their bath

3.) Make a small "Lavender Dream Pillow" to put in their pillow case

For a good night sleep or just to relax, you take the seeds and flowers of the plant and add it to your pillow. For a good bedtime drink, steep the seeds and flowers of the Lavender plant in water for about 15 to 30 minutes, then add a cup of boiling water.
I absolutely love the scent of Lavender. We actually sell some of our products in this particular type of scent. Who doesn't love Lavender???
Sources for my research: The Soap Dish: For anyone with kids who won't go to sleep, http://www.soapdisharchives.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=46746&hl=lavendar
Wikipedia

Sunday, August 16, 2009

BATH BOMB CUPCAKES!! SO YUMMY!!







Check out my Bath Bomb Cupcakes. I will be listing these to my Etsy shop very soon. These make awesome stocking stuffers for Christmas.

Friday, August 14, 2009

LIP BALM LOVERS!!


Natural, handmade lip balms are easy to make and so, so....did I say so? so much better for those luscious kissers of yours. Store bought lip balms usually have a petroleum base, which is good for that immediate relief you need for your chapped lips, but if you've noticed, the more you use the more your lips stay dried out.

Natural, handmade lip balms made with moisturizing vegetable oils are better for your lips because the oils are able to soothe and soften your lips, and protect against moisture loss and those harsh wintery cold days.

Vegetable Oils you will find in the lip balms that I produce:
Sweet Almond Oil - conditions

Coconut Oil - moisturizes and softens

Avocado Oil - moisturizing, healing, and contains large amounts of vitamins A, D, and E

Cocoa Butter - retains and restored moisture to your skin

Shea Butter - nourishes


Sources for my research: The Soapmaker's Companion: A Comprehensive Guide With Recipes, Techniques & Know-How, 1997, by Susan Miller Cavitch

Thursday, August 13, 2009

WONDERFUL INFO ON ALLERGIC REACTIONS

Those who are allergic to chocolate and nuts, you may want to keep an eye out for cocoa butter, coconut oil, and almonds, possibly even sweet almond oil, when you are reviewing the ingredients in your handmade items.

If you are allergic to pollen, keep an eye out for handmade items that contain honey. We actually use real honey in our Oatmeal and Honey soap, and that is one of my favs.

Sources for my research: Natural Soapmaking, 1998, by Marie Browning

A LITTLE BIT ABOUT LYE AND DISTILLED WATER

Sodium hydroxide, or lye, is a must to make soap. You cannot have soap without the lye. Lye is a caustic alkaline (a soluble base) that can be found in hardward or grocery stores, or you can even buy it online from a soap supply store, like Colorado Organics or Bramble Berry.

When dissolved in distilled water, the lye forms a strong alkaline solution, which becomes slippery and soapy to the touch. Lye is actually extremely dangerous if proper precautions are not taken. I'm telling you, this stuff is almost like a chemisty project, but if you wear proper gloves, goggles, and an old long sleeve shirt you will be fine.

As for distilled water, this too is another essential ingredient in making handmade soap. Distilled water is basically water that has had all of its impurities taken out through distillation. You cannot use regular tap water in place of the distilled water, because tap water may contain certain minerals that react with the lye, and ruin your soap.

Sources for my research: Handcrafted Soap, 2002, by Delores Boone

ANIMAL FAT VS. VEGETABLE OILS

Up until the 1900's, soap was probably second nature for moms, who would make their soap from saved up fats they got from cooking or butchering. But due to war and the economic needs of the time, companies began to make soap as a synthetic detergent.

Animal fats, such as lard and tallow (fats from pig and cattle), are still used today in making handmade soap, but back in the day, ALL soap was made with this type of ingredient. However, over time, vegetable oils from grains or nuts, were becoming the new alternative to making soap.

Even though animal fats do have their own unique quality, producing a hard, mild soap, they tend to clog your pores, whereas with vegetable oils, these tend to better absorb into your skin.

Sources for my research: Handcrafted Soap, 2002, by Delores Boone

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

HANDMADE VS. STORE BOUGHT

THIS TYPE OF SKIN

VS.

THIS TYPE OF SKIN



What I sell is actual soap made through a reaction of oils and lye called saponification. This chemical reaction creates soap and glycerin.

Most commercial soaps are not soaps at all, they are actually detergent bars. Commercial soaps use a synthetic detergent, which is less expensive, such as sodium lauryl sulfate. In addition to use of detergents as the cleaning agent, the naturally produced glycerin in commercial bars is removed since it can be sold and used for other products.


Some soaps may contain essential oils, but they are ruined because of the added chemicals used to enhance the scent of the soap and disguise unwanted byproducts from plants not grown organically. These ingredients remove the beneficial aspects of the oils and often cause allergic reactions.


Handmade soaps, on the other hand, are generally made in smaller batches (where commercial soaps are made in MASS quanities) with personal attention, where the naturally occurring glycerin is retained in the soap. Handmade soap is also rich and very moisturizing; it soothes, softens, and cleanses the skin.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

AWESOME SOAP FORUM

This is an amazing forum. Wonderful place for marketing ideas, recipes, ingredient tips, and basically the ins and outs of handmade bath and body products. Today I learned these interesting marketing tips:

- To try to be featured in magazines, send the editor (whichever one deals with bath and body or beauty) samples of your products, but when you send it, it MUST be very professionally wrapped, including a brochure of your products and information about your business, and even a .jpg (on disc) with your product pics on it; also include your business card and contact info

- It may be easier to get into your local magazine. They are usually looking for interesting local people or businesses to write about.

- The freelance writer or your local newspaper is your BEST FRIEND. Be kind to them and give them any and all the information they need, and afterwards send them a thank you card and maybe even a gift of your products. These folks will often contact you again for information or a related story, and even sell the same story again, but with a different spin on it.

GIVE AWAY AT END OF SEPTEMBER:)

Check out this awesome Give Away Blog from September 26 - October 3! I will be doing a giveaway. I haven't quite decide on what to give away, but I'm thinking of something like 2 soaps, 4 oz. bath salt, a bath bomb, a lip balm, a soap dish, and maybe a whipped shea butter (which I hope to list soon). The verdict isn't in yet, but these are just some of the possibilities.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Products Featured at Wilde Designs Blog

Yeah!! Some of my products were generously featured at http://wildedesigns.blogspot.com/. Check out some of her amazing designs from her Etsy shop at http://www.wildedesigns.etsy.com/.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Didn't Do Speed Networking Function

Well, I didn't do the speed networking. I didn't feel I prepared enough. However, it is definitely something I will continue to look in to and will definitely eventually participate in.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Speed Networking








Has anyone ever gone to a Speed Networking function at there local Chamber of Commerce before? I will be experiencing this for the first time this Wednesday. I am a little nervous, but I have done some research to better prepare myself. These are some of the TIPS I've read so far:

1.) Prepare a 2 minute speech describing who you are, your business, how you can benefit others, and what you are looking for.

2.) Bring a pen (seems obvious, but for us 1st timers, it could be easy to forget, I'm sure) and lots of business cards, brochures, and/or any other marketing materials you care to give out.

3.) When business cards are exchanged make sure to read the other participant's card aloud to help you better remember this person's name and face.

4.) Write a brief note on the back of the other participant's business card to also help you better remember something specific about this person.

5.) Make sure to separate your business cards from the cards you receive from other people. This will help you stay better organized.
6.) If you can provide referrals, services, or products, do so....this shows Good Will!!
7.) Take part in the informal networking sessions at the end to build a stronger rapport with participants.
8.) Be direct, and avoid polite conversation (of course, don't be mean and cold, but this is a business opportunity, so show your strong business side), and make sure to send out some kind of follow up card to participants you had a strong connection with.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Giveaway!

I am trying to find a good blog to do a review and a giveaway. One of the blogs I am following, http://yesiknowwhatcausesthat.blogspot.com, has actually offered to do a review or a giveaway for me, and I just might take her up on that. But I would also like to try to find another one.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I have returned from a much needed vacation. With all the driving we did, plus the adjustment of going back to work, and the altitude change, I need a vacation from vacation. But now...now, it is time to get down to business. THE SOAP BUSINESS..... From here on out I will be keeping busy with promoting my products, and learning what I can about running a successful business and learning more about my viewers and customers.

I would like to use this blog for this journey. It's going to be a long one, but I am so excited and just so optimistic about the future, I can hardly sit still.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

NEW LISTING


I just listed my lip balms. I am almost done in listing my products. Just a few more to go. It is quite a process..
After I get back from vacation I am going to go full steam ahead on promoting my products. I got some really good advice from stickerella (check out her awesome fantasy art at http://battlemaiden.etsy.com) that I am going to use as a guide to get me going. I'm actually trying to do a liitle promoting right now with my blog, facebook, twitter, and now my myspace page.
I think in order for me to not lose track and keep more organized, I am going to set up some kind of schedule for me to focus on one outlet at a time. Because right now, I seem to be kind of a scatter brain with all these outlets and not being able to really focus on any one in particular.
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