Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Two Boys

It always amazes how similar and also how very different my children are. Here they are raised in the same house, with the same rules and yet they are two very opposing forces. They play beautifully together for being 3 years apart and I love that. I think it is because they are a real balance for each other.

Ethan, my oldest, is very laid back and easy going. He doesn't get too worked up about much. He can spend all day with his nose in a book and was maneuvering the computer at age 2! He never ceases to amaze me.

Ryan, on the otherhand, is quite outgoing, opinionated, and determined to have his own way. He is extremely active and LOVES animals. I always have a small regret that our pet allergies are so bad that he can't have one. He is artsy and super creative. I love watching his artistic processes!

In honor of my two boys, I've created two spotlights highlighting things I think represents their interests and personalities the best!



Thursday, November 5, 2009

Please Don't look at my Blog

So I tried to do some changing around and a new header and I really messed it up so PLEASE don't look. Some day I will have time to fix it up right and pretty!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Special Project

One of my favorite things to do is create and what I love even better is to create things for people I love. One of my most beloved is my grandmother; affectionately, Nanny. She is such a big part of my life and really, one of my closests friends. In many ways she has shaped who I am. One of the darn toughest gals I know, full of spunk, keeper of family history, crafty in her own special way, and well...she thinks my kids are the tops too!

I've been working top secret on a little project just for her that is finally coming to a finish. But first a little history.

My grandparents purchased an historic building in the town I grew up in about the time I headed off to college. Built in 1892, it was originally a hotel set right at the railroad. So it was the key landing spot for many travelers, including one US president. In the 1930's it was converted into a hospital and many local residents were born there. Nanny has quite a collection of baby photos from those who were born there stored away with letters in her "hospital" album. I believe it was in the 70's when the building was vacated by the hospital (a new facility was built) and donated to the historical society who housed the city museum there. When my grandparents purchased the building, it was in quite the disrepair.

But they, with their four hands (and many of ours--family), have put it back into a beautiful, majestic state once more. It now houses their living quarters in the back half on the first two stories, two full apartments-one each on the first two stories, and four sleeper/rental rooms with bathrooms. It also houses a large formal dining room and marble floored grand lobby. The third floor is yet to be finished, but they keep trucking along at it in the time between their travels, hobbies, and active family life.

Now my part of the story.........I enjoy creating things and helping her decorate the rental rooms. One of the things I have wanted to do is to make her some custom soaps to put in the bathrooms for her sleeper rooms and for when she has events. I finally got around to getting a logo designed and fine tuned it with some help from my stamp maker. Well, I just love this stamp, and I hope Nanny does too! I am creating her three different soaps...lavender, deep forest (both pictured), and an olive oil. All will be stamped with: Durley Hotel.

Who do you create for?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Scratch n Win

I am so excited to offer a special promotion for the month of October!

Customers will have the chance to win one of 3 coupon codes for a dollar amount in my shop. One coupon in each of the following increments will be awarded: $5, $10, and $20.
During the month of October, each customer shopping on-line with Soap Scent-sations will receive a scratcher ticket with their order. Only one ticket will be in each order so the more separate purchases you make, the greater your chances to win one of the prizes. Only 40 tickets will be printed, so get your purchases in early!

*Thank you for the wonderful tutorial from Mitsy at ArtMind.

Where to shop:

*tickets only available during the month of October, while supplies last
*offer not valid with any other discount
*not valid on custom or wholesale orders
*must present code at time of purchase
*winning coupons must be used between November 1 - Decemeber 31, 2009

Will you be a winner?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Chocolate Scent-sations!

The most recent challenge for the SAFEteam challenge was entitled Bon Bons and Booze! Now I am not a big drinker, but I found this challenge interesting and had an immediate inspiration!

There are 4 things that are a must at the holidays in our house: homemade biscotti of all varieties, gingerbread men, Grandma’s cranberry salad, and chocolate! My mom makes dozens of varieties of chocolate treats; Peanut Butter Balls, dipped Pretzels, fudge, the list goes on! My addition to her chocolate plate is a creamy, brandy filled truffle.

When this challenge was announced I knew immediately I had to recreate these decadent treats in a bar of soap! So here they are, complete with heavy cream, real unsweetened chocolate, and YES! a shot of brandy. My favorite part of this soap is the stamp I found, "a balanced diet is a chocolate in each hand" The stamp also inspired me to create an additional soap with a chocolate theme! What is better than one chocolate, but two!

You can view the rest of the entrants on the SAFEteam blog starting on Friday. Be sure to vote and comment on your favorite BonBon inspired soap for a chance to win a FREE bar of soap! To purchase Brandied Chocolate Truffle Soap or its companion soap, Raspberry Torte, visit my Etsy shop.

I'd like to share the edible recipe with you as well, as it is too good not to share!

The Edible Brandied Chocolate Truffles

10 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 Tbl unsalted butter
½ c heavy whipping cream
1 Tbl light corn syrup
¼ c brandy

8 oz semi sweet chocolate
½ c cocoa powder, fine chopped nuts, toasted coconut (your choice!)

In med glass bowl, melt 10 oz choco with butter in micro, 30 secs. Stir and repeat. Set aside.

Heat cream and corn syrup in sauce pan over med heat until simmering. Remove and pour over choco. Let stand 2 min, then slowly stir in circles, til all choco melted and cream incorporated. Gently stir in brandy. Pour in 8 x 8 glass dish and refrigerate 1 hr.

Using a melon baler, scoop chocolate onto a sheet pan lined with wax paper and return to fridge for 30 min.

Place toppings in individual bowls. Set aside.

Now place 8 oz semi sweet choco in med mixing bowl. Place this on top of another larger bowl lined with a heating pad set on medium. Stir choco occasionally and heat to 90-92 degrees F. Do NOT allow to go over 92 to maintain a crisp crunch when complete.

Remove balls from fridge and shape into rounds.

Dip into melted chocolate using forks. Roll in desired topping. Place on baking sheet and cool for 1 hr. Store in fridge and serve at room temp.

This time I used some sea salt as one of the toppings and that was a nice contrast with all the sweet, richness of the truffles. Drink, be Merry, Eat more Chocolate! Enjoy!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Have a Coke!

I am a collector and keeper of many things. Coca-Cola paraphernalia is one thing that adorns a portion of my kitchen. Today I found an Etsy shop that is LOADED with great shelving options and other Coca-Cola items perfect for the avid collector! Take a peek at this wonderful little find!

I may have to add to my collection soon!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Falling for Etsy

I am still heavily absorbed in thoughts of fall and was wondering what everyone else was doing for fall. I know I can always count on the talented artisans at Etsy for fabulous finds no matter what the season. I know this will be my place to do my shopping this year again! Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fall Flurry

As school starts, my mind starts twirling with the remembrances of fall; leaves changing colors, warm soup, smells of baked goods filled with freshly picked apples, berries, and pears seasoned with cinnamon and other spices.

As the flurry of fall soap making has commenced, it is only natural that these things come into play. Of course I have to throw in some of my own favorites, and tried and true favorites among customers. A few are already available in my Etsy shop and the remainder will become available in early September. So be on the look out for your fall favorites and be sure to pre-order to secure a bar today.

The first two are available now and the third in limited quantities until the next batch is cured:

Pumpkin Pie Spice with Lavender - a soap made with real pumpkin pulp, pie spices, and lavender essential oil. A true spicy soap with just a hint of lavender to make it almost romantic.

Caramel Apple - a dead on scent of tart apples covered in rich, creamy, sweet caramel. I love this one. It is alot of fun and reminds me of Halloween as a child.

Lavender and Oats - an old favorite. Since I only have a bar or two left, this one was for sure on the MUST make list. There will be some limited edition shapes this time around too!

Blackberry Sage - a balanced combination of sweet berries and herbal sage. Not too sweet, not too earthy.

White Tea and Berries - another sweet scent in such a pretty layered bar of cream, pink, and lavender. You might think this is too springy, but really the fall berry scent plays nicely with the subtle white tea, making it a nice fall blend. Oh, and I was just dying to create something with this scent!

Deep Forest - a slightly new blend based off of my Evergreen Forest Glycerin bar. Very earthy with hints of spice. The perfect bar for your favorite guy. These I made in my brand new guest loaf mold and just LOVE how they turned out! A limited quantity are stamped with a cute little phrase that would be ideal for housewarming gifts, your cabin in the woods, or just for any rustic bathroom. Made with my favorite Shea Butter Recipe, green clay and spices for natural color; Cedar, Fir, Cinnamon, Cloves...need I say more!

Other things to be looking for: a Mizzou themed soap, more sea salt bars, and shaving soap. I'll keep you updated as these roll out of the molds. And if you have an special requests, please don't hestiate, I love custom orders.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Challenged Again

When I entered the SAFEteam Soap challenge I really had a notion to make a “Soap on the Brain” bar! You’ve seen the brain mold and I envisioned fusing a guest size soap to it. I mean really, I live and breathe soap! But then we (soapers that is) all do, don’t we?! On the other hand there is way more to me than soap. There are my kids, my family, my church, etc, etc. And there is also this other me that is a woman in the middle of all the other worlds.

Who am I and how can I describe myself in a bar of soap?! Good grief, talk about a challenge. Outwardly, I am wife, mom, Christian, sister, daughter, soaper, and so on. Inwardly, a little more complex…loner, yet I don’t know a stranger; pleaser, yet likes to have my own way; lover of knowledge, but set in my ways; likes to be challenged, yet dislikes change; artsy but likes organization and clean lines; modern momma with some pretty classical/vintage ideals and a hankering for family history and antiques; perfectionist that has come to accept that I can’t do everything. And that is only scratching the surface.

My challenge soap has three layers of my favorite Cold Process recipe that includes a huge dollop of shea butter and my own personal blend of oils and fragrances: anise for spice and spunkiness, lavender as a favorite, sandalwood to soften, and lilac for memories. Each layer represents a piece of me (though I still don’t think the totality). The first layer is tinted black with activated charcoal. This layer is for the modern me…web surfer, Etsy soap seller self and for that part of me that likes organization and clean lines. The next layer is in lavender. It is lightly embossed with a lace pattern and is for the soft side of me…the girly part that likes to get dressed up in frills and snuggle up with my kiddos, for the nostalgic part of me. The final layer is swirled with color for the part that loves color and vibrancy in life and also representing how all of my roles somehow mesh and swirl together to make me.

I hope you enjoy this soap…it truly is a piece of me and thank you for the challenge. While it isn’t exactly how I perceived it originally, it’s ok…because I am NOT perfect and life is a constant lesson! Cheers!

Step on over to the SAFEteam Blog to check out how other soapers perceive themselves and take a vote! You might even win a bar of the winning soap!

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Tomorrow is the day we, my darling husband and I, celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. It seems like forever and yesterday at the same time. I can honestly say it has been an amazing 10 years. We really have grown together and I can not imagine my life without this amazing man by my side. He keeps me sane, puts up with my moods and messes, and truly takes care of me. He is my leaning post, my sounding board, and my soul mate. He is brilliant, calm, and very patient. He is the daddy to my beautiful children.

I often wonder how we came to be "us" and if I deserve this great guy, but I do thank the Lord for bringing us together and keeping us together. I count my blessings for every day we have had. And many, many, many more to come.

Our wedding was not fancy by any stretch of the word. I made my own dress and had help making my bridesmaids dresses, flowergirl dress, a vest for the ring bearer. I wish I had had Etsy then, it would have been even more unique and even more like us.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Surprise Inside

Cutting soap is one of my favorite parts of the process (other than the formulating). Being patient enough to wait is very difficult , but almost without fail it is worth it! When yo u cut into a loaf of soap you never know what may be waiting for you. I've been working on t rying to get better swirls and layers in my so aps so yesterday I planned a swirled fall soap. I was looking forward to see what might be aw aiting me after a late night of soaping. This particular loaf is a pumpkin soap made with pumpkin pulp, pie spices, and a touch of lavender (my fa vorite Essential Oil). It turned out a little darker than I had anticipated, but it is still a warm orange/brown from the natural color of the pumpkin and cinnamon...perfect for the fall. The biggest surprise was not the color, but instead the pattern that developed. Most have a lovely layer of light lavender through, but a few from one end had a rather creepy smile! I think these will be perfect for Halloween! What do you think?

This delightful soap will be available at the end of August.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Now Available in Local Venue

We are happy to announce that Soap Scent-sations products are now available in a local venue. If you live in or near Columbia, MO be sure to stop by Artlandish in downtown Columbia. This art gallery/studio is filled with beautiful handcrafted artisan work from in and around the area. A small selection of my finest products don one of the shelves there. Also be sure to take advantage of the workshops available!

Here are few items from Soap Scent-sations you will find available at Artlandish.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fabulous Find

So I was doing a little search on Etsy today and came across such a fun little shop. It is filled with delightful clay and ceramic pieces that truly make me grin. MyOtherLittleShop is loaded with fun little creatures; frogs, owls, one-eyed monsters!

Upon exploring I realized it was a seller I was familiar with! I have purchased custom handmade tiles from RedCrowArts to complete a mosaic project. And such a delight to see that she also has another shop filled with equally fun items and a third shop with supplies for your very own creations. Go explore these fun shops! And know that you are getting quality handmade goods!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bumper Crop

Despite the unending rain, we were able to get out into the weed infested garden and harvest a few things. Our plot is only 8 x 8 so there isn't a lot of anything. Just enough for us to enjoy a few fresh veggies and the kids get the opportunity to see how it grows/where it comes from. Ryan begged to dig the carrots, so we dug up one clump. We will leave the rest for later--let them grow a little longer. But we did dig up all the potatoes. The kids loved getting to use the water hose to clean the mud off and Ethan gave us the "Eh, What's up Doc?" line! My favorite part of course is watching them enjoy learning without knowing it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Household Helpers

One of my favorite household helpers is vinegar. It has so many uses around the house. Aside from the usual cooking uses you might think of, it is also useful in many cleaning applications. Vinegar can be used in mop water. Vinegar can be used as a neutralizer for lye spills and splashes during soap making. And my favorite use for vinegar is in the laundry. It is a great fabric softener and static reducer. It also helps remove soap residue from your clothing. Here's my formulation for laundry use.

1/4 cup vinegar
5-6 drops essential oil (I use Tea Tree most of the time; however, lavender, eucalyptus, and rosemary are excellent choices as well)
1/2 cup water

Pour into your fabric softener dispenser the same as you would chemical fabric softeners.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Ok, so by now you probably have realized I have a thing for lavender. I love it in bath and body products as a stand-alone or in a variety of combinations. One of my all time favorite essential oil blends is lavender and lemon. It is such a pleasant combo of sweet/spicy and tart/tangy. It is great in soap, bath bombs, bath oils, and even lotion. Oh yum, I am dreaming of things to make as I type...drool, drool.

Some of my favorite lavender findings on Etsy.
(this spotlight featured on ByHand Gallery)

I love lavender as a plant! It's lovely grey/green stemy plant is a great accent in any garden and it even stays somewhat green in the cold of the winter. In the summer of course there are the tall purple spikes of tiny fragrant flowers. I love walking among them (being careful of the bees I have to share them with). They always give off a wonderful smell as you brush past them. I can't help but stop and pick a sprig to tuck behind my ear. And of course bundles for drying are a must. Great for laying in baskets or tucking in vases, filling sachets, or adding to soap. I LOVE lavender.

This year I thought I would try my hand at making some lavender jelly and have dried enough to make a small batch. I can't wait to try it. In the mean time, I've used fresh buds to make a muffin recipe I had been wanting to try.

Recipe as follows:

1/4 cup butter/margerine (dairy free version at our house)
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk (we use almond milk)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup fresh lavender buds, rinsed and seperated from stem

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs, milk, vanilla, salt, and baking powder, blend well.
Sift in flour, mix thoroughly.
Fold in lavender.

Bake in 350 degree hot oven for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

While still warm glaze with 1/2 cup powdered sugar and juice of one lemon.

Ok, these are as yummy as can be. Perfect combination of lavender and lemon! Once Again! Who knew you could eat it too! I will definitely be attacking the lavender plants earlier and more heavily next year. Alas, they are almost done for this season...I'll leave the rest for the bees.

Essential Oil vs Fragrance Oil

I always like to come back to this topic or one's similar as it is a great refresher on Natural vs Synthetic. It is a good reminder to my self and consumers who are looking for more natural products.

What do you think of when you see the words Essential Oils or Fragrance Oils? Other more generic terms you may see are scents or fragrances or even simply, oils. When those words are all together there appear to be some differences, but singularly it may not be as apparent. In many cases the term essential oil is used in very loose terms meaning anything that is scented. To me this is very far from the truth and can be used misleadingly.

An essential oil is derived from plant matter, generally via a distillation process (that all depends on the oil, the part of the plant used, and how volatile the substance is--and an entirely different topic). There are many grades of essential oils. When using them for bath/body/aromatherapy purposes I believe it is of utmost importance to use aromatherapy grade oils. These have not been diluted or thinned in any form. Of course there are some exception to this dilution, such as Jasmine and Rose, which as essential oils are extremely expensive. Essential oils are a splendid choice when looking to create or purchase natural. I use them extensively in my home for everything from household chores to natural beauty solutions. I also use them in my soap products for their wonderful naturally fragrant properties. Nothing synthetic compares to quality, natural Lavender Essential Oil.

Fragrance oils are chemically created in a lab to mimic pretty much anything. We all know there is no such thing as Bubble Gum essential oil, but many don't realize that scents like blueberry and strawberry (the fruity part) can only be created in a lab and will NEVER be an essential oil even though strawberries and blueberries are clearly from mother nature. However, the beauty of science can give us those scents to be used as flavorings and fragrances for home and body uses. I use these in products when I can't find a natural alternative. I mean, who can resist the scent of creme brulee or all those fabulous "fresh" and "rain" scents. My youngest son's absolute favorite is blueberry, so when I create things for him guess what Fragrance oil I use?! When used in moderation and from reliable sources they can become quick favorites. Fragrances will never be natural, but are often made using some natural oil blends in combination with other synthetic ingredients.

I hope this helps clarify the difference between fragrances and essential oils. Essential oils are fragrant, but fragrances are never essential oils. And of course this is a very, very abbreviated lesson in essential oils and is only meant to inform.

A few other things to note:
1). Essential oils and fragrance oils should be used care and caution by those who understand their properties and to what quantities they can be used safely.
2). Neither essential oils nor fragrance oils should be ingested.
3). Craft store oils for burners, potpourri, and incense are not intended for body use. Never use these in bath or body applications.
4). As always, keep such products out of the reach of children.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Soap of the Month - Lavender and Oats

Lavender Oats is one of my absolute favorites! I think it really is the scent I adore so much. Lavender is one of my favorite summer flowers and it finds it's home in many of my beds. I dry it every year for use in bouquets and sachets. This year, I have enough that I am going to try my hand at lavender jelly.

The bar itself is really a simple, yet luxurious bar. Primarily an olive oil soap with added shea butter and is loaded with ground whole oats for natural exfoliation. Lightly scented with soothing lavender that is true to the spicy notes of lavender.

I have previously made a hand-milled version of this bar, but I think you will find this one is even better and it is certainly bigger! The previous bars were around 3 oz each and are now cut to 4 oz or more! Generally, MORE!

Ingredients: Distilled Water, Sodium Palmate, Sodium Cococate, Sodium Olivate, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Meal, essential oil of lavender

I thought I would start off the first full week of the July with a Soap of the Month. During each month one soap will be featured and offered at a special price for the entire month. The discount will be available in any of my three on-line shops. For the month of July, Lavender and Oats will be available for $4.95 per bar (reg $5.50). Price not available with any other discount. To receive the special price for this month you must place in a message to the seller: JULY BLOG.

So stop on by one of my shops and enjoy the luxury of handmade soap!
1000 Markets

Thursday, July 2, 2009

4th of July SALE

Beginning Fri, July 3rd - Sun, July 5th

20% off all items that are Red, White, and Blue
15% off all other items

FREE shipping on orders over $30 (after discount/before shipping)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Winner Announced

The winner was announced for the jleighdesigns blog giveaway. The lucky winner (Kathy) will receive a Fabulous Feet Spa Kit, a decorative glycerin soap, and a discount code for a future purchase. Thank you all who played! And those who didn't win, you find foot spas and many other fabulous items in my Etsy shop. Thank you jleighdesigns for asking me to sponsor the giveaway. It was a wonderful experience.!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Cleaning Day - DIY Household Cleaner

Well, this is not my most favorite task in the world, but I MUST clean house today. As I started the process I realized I was out of cleaner so I had to make some. Make some you say? Yes! I make my own chem free cleaner that works like a charm. So I thought I would share this easy, breezy all purpose recipe with you.

Here is the basic recipe:

1 cup baking soda
1 cup washing soda (this found in the laundry section of your supermarket and Arm & Hammer's YELLOW box--not the orange)
1 cup Borax

To this I add one of the following essential oil blends:
lavender and tea tree
rosemary and orange
lemon and lime

It only takes 7-10 drops per batch so do an equal parts blend first, then add on top of mixed powders. Shake thoroughly. Of course it will work just fine without the essential oils, but I like the scent and know that they also have some other added benefits. I keep mine in a plastic Gladware container, but something with a sifter on top would be ultra handy. If you happen to see one let me know!

This all purpose cleaner works wonders on tubs, toilets, and sinks in both the kitchen and bath. Just sprinkle on surface and wipe with a damp sponge. Rinse thoroughly. Try it, you might just like it. It's chemical free, easy to make, easy to use, and costs less than your standard cleaners. As with all cleaners, it is a good idea to to a test patch first.

Friday, June 26, 2009

To Blog

I have been attempting to write a blog post all week and nothing really seemed to flesh out all the way. Topics contmeplated: 1). A look at labeling practices, 2) another sale/giveaway and 3). garden findings. I think I will give it the weekend, come back fresh next week, and then bring you something spectacular! I HOPE!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Weekend Deals!

Going on this weekend 6/19-6/21: SAFE (Soap Artisan Friends of Etsy) team Sale. See the blog for further details. Soap Scent-sations is offering 15% off all purchases via this sale. You will be refunded via Paypal after items have shipped. In addition, Fabulous Feet Sets are on Sale this weekend only for $20 (no additional reduction).

Earn a chance to win a Fabulous Feet Set by visiting this generous blogger: J. Leigh Designz Thank you for the interview! Link to her blog HERE to register to win:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

From Sea to Shining Sea

Thank you to those who participated in the scenting of my latest soap. I'd like to first tell you a little about this Americana themed bar. It is made with two varieties of Sea Salt, one Pacific and one Atlantic variety to make it a true Sea to Sea Salt Soap.
The bottom layer, in red, is made with Hawaiian Red Alaea Salt from the Pacific Ocean. It has been used by Hawaiians for centuries in sacred ceremonies to cleanse and purify tools and canoes. Red sea salt is created by natural evaporation and trapped in tidal pools where it mixes with the red volcanic clay that gives it its color. It is said to contain 80 different naturally occurring minerals, making it a perfect addition to any body care regime. It gives this soap a lovely rustic, red color and is used as an exfoliant.
The second salt used in both the white and blue layer is Pure Atlantic Sea Salt. It is fine grain and solar evaporated, containing no anti-caking agents or additives. This too will give a wonderful exfoliation and a great compliment to the more course red salt.

And with much ado, now that you have seen the completed bar and read a little bit about the ingredients, the scent! and the winner! This was a difficult decision and all were wonderful ideas--who knows, you may see them in the future!

From Sea to Shining Sea was scented with Ocean Rain...selected by:
amy@articulations said...
Great contest! How about a fresh air/rain scent, like the clean great outdoors?

Amy will receive one bar of From Sea to Shining Sea as a token of thanks!

I chose this one as I thought it most fit the Sea theme I already had in mind. Thank you again to all who participated. Keep an eye out for more new products, contests, and specials coming in the future!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Our Disney Vacation

We had a marvelous time in Disney World but are so glad to be back on home turf. There was not a lack for entertainment. We spent 4 days at Disney parks, a day at the beach, and a day at the Space Center. The boys' favorite thing was the Jedi Training in Hollywood Studios! Definitely the highlight of their vacation. I of course enjoyed the spectacular costumes and make-up for the productions they put on in all of the parks and the beach was very relaxing. So happy to get the kids (and hubby) in the ocean for the first time. On our next vacation all I want to do is spend a week on the beach so I can work on my tan some more.

Top Jedi: center is my oldest practicing one move
Bottom Jedi: the short one in front is the youngest watching the Master carefully

And yes that is us in bathing suits! And yes we are from Missouri and haven't seen sun in six months!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Home of the Brave

I am currently working on a line of Patriotic Products. I have a Red, White, and Boom Soap Pop for the kids and Bath Fizzies in star shapes. The next thing on my list is a Cold Process bar in Red, White, and Blue Layers made with Sea Salts. I have a name picked out (to be announced upon completion) and all of the ingredients. What I can't decide is the perfect scent to go along with this brilliantly, beautiful and American bar!

That being said I'm leaving it up to my customers and friends to Pick the Scent that is MOST Patriotic/American, and win a FREE 4 oz Bar of Sea Salt Soap: Yet to be scented.

Here's what to do - comment at the end of this blog with the following:

1. Your idea of the perfect American scent: It has to say, US of A, Amber Waves of Grain, Purple Mountain Majesties. It can be a creative blend of Essential oils or just a favorite scent/fragrance that you think is ALL American! I am open to all suggestions!

2. Your contact information: should you be the chosen winner I will need to contact you for mailing instructions. I will announce the winner here on the blog and will also send you a private e-mail. (If you would rather not publicize your information you may e-mail my business account: I never share information with anyone).

This Scenting contest will last through June 15th. The winning scent will be announced shortly there after.


Sunday, May 31, 2009


Handmade soap can be just your basic bar of olive oil or a popular, but simple lavender and oats. But it can be so much more. What inspires a soap? Whether it is a melt and pour soap or a cold process bar, many things can trigger the imagination.

You know, for the longest time there was a scent I would smell and it reminded me of going to my grandparents house. We only saw them once or twice a year, but that smell was always them. I never really knew what it was. As an adult, I finally figured out what it was one day while in the floral department of a craft store...Eucalyptus. Grandma always had it in the house! I like to add a little Eucalyptus Essential Oil to scrubs, bath bombs, and even soap just as a reminder of those happy memories of crafting with Grandma.

Many times it is as simple as a scent or a fun mold that inspires the creation of a particular soap. Who couldn't help but be inspired by a Freezer Pop tray? Sometimes it is a season or upcoming holiday that gets the creative juices flowing. Spring is one of my favorite seasons and it brings with it a newness, a freshness. Mystic Garden is a very good example of such an inspired soap. Other times it is more a memory or an idea or feeling I'd like to get across. Of course there is music, stories, and poetry that can make a soap come to life.

And then there are your Soap Team Challenges! I created Creme Brulee for such a challenge. The next challenge should be interesting and I look forward to completing it. Our inspirational challenge: Describe yourself in a bar of soap! Now if that doesn't bring about an interesting soap, I don't know what will. Now off to the drawing figure out who I am as a bar of soap of course!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Foot Spas Now Available

Now available are the foot spa kits I've been talking about here and there. After debating the perfect container and testing many recipes, I have come up with what I think to be the best combination of oils, salts, and scents to get your feet ready for summer sandals and lazy days pool side, deck side, or sea side. What's great is you can treat your self with this easy at home spa at a fraction of the cost of day spas.

What's included in the kit? Three products make up the kit. First, a Fizzing Soak composed of milk powder, baking soda, and citric acid. These are blended in just the right proportions and topped off with avocado oil for a soothing and moisturizing treat for your feet. The second step in kit is a Dead Sea Salt Scrub. Dead Sea Salt works to exfoliate the rough skin on your heels and foot pads. To counter the gentle, roughness of the medium ground salts is a blend of avocado and jojoba oils. Finally, after a rinse and gentle pat dry your feet are ready to be pampered with a bee's wax and shea butter foot butter. Now your Foot Spa is complete, don those sandals and flip flops with confidence!

Currently available in Vanilla Mint, a soothing, refreshing, and cool blend.
Coming soon in Vanilla Orange, Lavender, and Tea Tree & Lavender.

Keep checking my Etsy Shop for availability.

For the Men-Blog Feature

We've been blogged again! Thank you to The Soap Bar for the very kind feature! Don't forget to pick up a Tax Man today!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Deals For Dads

Dad's Day Sale running 5/26-6/4 in Etsy Shop

Code: DAD

All MEN's Soaps, Sets, and Sundries available at 15% off.

Free shipping on orders over $30 in US and Canada. International orders over $30 receive 50% off shipping.

Sample of Men's (more to come):

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

We've been Blogged!

I love seeing how customers use my products in creative ways. This customer, Amy, purchased my customizable shower favor soaps as the final touch to a bridal shower she was hosting. HERE is a link to her blog showing how she paired them with tea bags and custom tags from other Etsy sellers as a fabulous party favor for the guests.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Melt and Pour Inferior?

I have had a few people recently ask me the difference between melt & pour and cold process soaps. Many are under the assumption that Melt and Pour (MP) are inferior to Cold Processed (CP) soaps. Let's address this by first defining the two and then discussing the benefits each yields for the soaper and for the consumer.

Melt and Pour (sometimes referred to as Glycerin soap).

Melt and Pour is a soap making method that involves taking a pre-made soap base that can be melted in either the microwave or a special melt pot. Then additives are carefully selected and measured and added to the base to create the desired effect. Additives include essential oils, fragrance oils, colorants, and/or botanicals to name a few. MP bases do vary in quality. You have the type you can purchase at craft stores that are fine for weekend crafts with the kids and even for testing. However, the serious soaper will use bases that can be bought in bulk and are of superior quality, formulated for specific needs. They can be simple or challenging to create. They can be decorative and ornate or just plain fun.

At Soap Scent-sations I use a quality bases that are SLS free (that's another topic all together). Each color and scent is tediously selected and can be as simple as my Soap on a Rope or layered and molded into fancy layered soaps such as the Fleur de Lis collection. I love how simply clean my skin feels after using a MP bar. My kids especially like the animal and bug shaped soaps. That helps make bath time fun for them and I know that by using quality bases, I am not compromizing their delicate skin with unnecessary chemicals.

Cold Process Soap (many know this as Lye Soap).

Cold Processed soap is a method of soap making that involves using sodium hydroxide (or lye) in combination with oils (fats) to create a cleaning agent we all know and adore--soap. The beauty of CP is that you get to be involved with it from the very beginning. You select your oils and butters and measure them out in the proportions that give you the properties you desire. I won't bore you with the chemical reactions and properties that allow all this to happen, but know that the right combination is important to the CP soap maker. Too much lye can make a harsh bar that is either completely unusable or drying to the skin. Excesses in oils can clog pores, etc. And don't think that cold processed bars are frumpy and without their own amount of creativity. The practiced soaper can create beautiful swirls of color, fanciful layers, and highly aromatic bars of soap using the cold process method.

Me, I like a nice hard, long lasting bar so I use plenty of coconut oil. But I also like to feel soft when I am done so I balance the coconut oil with skin happy oils and butters like olive, jojoba, and shea. To me, each batch is it's own beast! And I like them all for different reasons. The Shea Butter Soaps are one of my favorite recipes. They are the perfect balance for my skin. But the Gardener's Soap is very popular for its extra scrubbing power.

Both MP and CP soaps contain glycerin. Glycerin is a naturally occurring by-product of the soap making process. Glycerin is a humecent (draws moisture to the skin). That is one of the reasons handmade soaps do not dry skin out like commercial beauty bars. They start as soap, but the natural glycerin is leached out and sold as a separate product. Don't be wary of soap that lists sodium hydroxide or lye in ingredient lists, it's part of the process and completely necessary to soap making. While both use lye in the creation of soap, neither MP nor CP soaps contain lye in the end. The chemical process involves the lye fully incorporating with the oils.

As you can see, both MP and CP methods of soap making can be challenging to the creator and beneficial to the consumer. I don't think one is especially better than the other. We all have our preferences. In the end, it's all just soap! But do look at ingredient lists. Be on the look out for chemical lathering agents in MP and certainly request ingredient lists on CP soaps. Both can work for you if you know what you are looking for.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

All Natural?

I was involved in a conversation yesterday about "All Natural" products, rather that is, products claiming to be natural and what constitutes natural. We are increasingly becoming more interested as a society, I think, in natural products and that is a good thing in my mind. But many are using the term in a loose way to draw in unsuspecting customers. What most people don't realize is that (1) just because it has the word "Natural" on it doesn't mean it is truly all natural and (2) all things "Natural" aren't necessarily good for you.

So let's take a moment to expand on each of those two thoughts and how Soap Scent-sations addresses them in our products.

1) "It's All Natural" Yes, I use natural ingredients. Natural bee's wax, natural butters, natural oils, and natural essential oils. They are natural in the sense that they come from nature and I do my best to find ingredients that are grown and harvested in a responsible way. However, a key ingredient needed to make soap is sodium hydroxide which is a manufactured chemical. Without it, soap simply could not be. And I do use fragrance oils and some FD&C colorings that are not "natural". They are chemically made to mimic scents and colors found in nature.
Some of them I find pleasing and at Soap Scent-sations we use them on occassion.

Furthermore, any products containing water must be preserved to prevent bacteria from growing in the products. While there are certainly some less potent/harmful preservatives, I know of none that are truly natural. I would rather take the chance with a preservative than introduce my customers to potential bacterial infections that they may never recover from.

So can I, or any other bath and body business call their products natural? In a sense yes if they are using natural ingredients, only essential oils, no synthetic dyes, and no preservatives. All Natural, I don't feel that I can make that full claim. I do use the necessary ingredient sodium hydroxide, limited fragrance oils, and synthetic dyes in many of my products. However, I will say that handmade products in general can be far more enjoyable.

2) Natures Own Well, it is from nature so it must be good for you, right? Not by a long shot. There are many essential oils that should not be used on any skin, and certainly none should be ingested. And what is good for one individual, may not be good for another. We all have different skin types and certain oils are more helpful to dry skin, while others are better for oily skin.

Of course there are the allergens to consider. I have become increasingly aware of the many allergies that exist today. In my house we avoid dairy and peanut products. Many are allergic to nut oils, including a favorite among soapers--coconut oil. The best I can do is be aware and considerate of those allergens. While I do not think it is possible to make an entirely allergen free product, I have made a conscious decision to no longer use almond oil in my Lipster Sticks due to an awareness of allergies. Allergies are also why it is extremely important to Soap Scent-sations to list every ingredient on all products. It is your job as a consumer to know what you can't use and be deligent in requiring ingredient listings on the handmade goods you purchase. And of course, if you have special requirements, we are always happy to find a way to make it possible (within reason of course).

So what should you gleen from this? 1) "All Natural" is a clever marketing tool. 2) All things "Natural" may not good for. 3) Be an informed consumer and READ LABELS!

I hope this has been helpful to you in looking for quality, handmade products. And certainly hope it has informed you on the nature of "Natural".

Friday, May 15, 2009


And the winner of the drawing is (hand selected by my 7 yr old) ............. PolkaDotCandle!

You will be receiving a FREE bar of Double Chocolate Delight Soap! Congratulations! And thank you for being so patient as this was a long running contest.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Contest Winner to be Announced

You may recall that in January I entered a contest for small, mom owned businesses, called Start Up Nation. The votes were tallied and while I was not the winner, there were many votes and it was an overall great experience I am proud to have taken part in. You also may recall that I offered a drawing for a FREE bar of soap from Soap Scent-sations to those who voted and commented on my blog. No, I did not forget and the drawing will be taking place tomorrow. So stay tuned....oh the suspense. Who will the winner be? I can't tell you until tomorrow, but I will let you in on the bar the winner will receive...a 4 oz Double Chocolate Delight Cold Process Soap Bar, because life is sweet and so are each of you!

Gardener's Soap

For those of you who adore the Gardener's Soap and know I am down to just a couple not fear, I have another batch in the works. It will be ready in four weeks. If you haven't tried the
Gardener's Soap you will find it to work amazingly on ground in dirt, grease, and those icky kitchen smells. This bar is packed with cornmeal and pumice for that extra scrubbing your hands need when you've been working hard. Be it in the Garden, the Shop, or the Kitchen I'm sure this soap will do the trick.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Gift Sets

Today I listed a few new gift baskets. I think the lavender set is just gorgeous. I love the bird decorated box. It would be perfect for a mom to be or college grad. Of course I couldn't forget something to spoil the golfer in your life. Cut Grass soap is an excellent choice for the guy who spends his time on the green. I had one other gorgeous box with a french theme and my creme brulee soap, but it has already sold! Hurry before these are gone too!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tug of War

Today, at the prompting of another Etsian, I have been making some business considerations regarding all the many directions on-line sellers are being pulled. Are you playing tug-o-war?

In an attempt to broaden my market I've opened two other on-line shops in the past. One over a year ago, and the other at the beginning of the year. What I am finding is that it is difficult to promote all of those shops...there just are not enough hours in the day. Not only the promoting, but also the keeping enough stock to cover all three shops (you know, just in case I actually make any sales in those venues). I have a family, social life, and local business opportunities I would like to explore.

So what is to be done? For the time being, Etsy is my numero uno! I put the greatest amount of effort here, I am familiar with the ins and outs of Etsy, and am a member of 2 fabulous teams here. My clientele is building and many consistent, return customers. I think the tug of war is ending for me. I know where home is. Etsy is home, my local venues, and eventually I think my own web site is in order.

I would love to hear others thoughts on this. Are you pulled in many directions and don't know what to do? or are you focused and organized enough to manage various on-line venues?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Local Event

Please Join us at the North Village Artists Market.



Thursday, April 30, 2009

In the Eye of the Beholder

One of my little addictions is "old stuff" (as my sweet husband calls it). I like old pieces of furniture especially. A beat up table can become an end table with a little elbow grease. An old gate piece becomes a garden trellis. Here is my latest find, a wire rack. I thought it was just rusty and a little paint would fix it right up, but it ended up being a plastic coating. I had to use some extra muscle on it, but I think it really turned out nicely.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Handmadeology Photo Contest

Timothy Adams is asking for photos! Are your photos worthy? I selected two of my favorite photos and submitted. Please Vote!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Offering Private Labeling and Wholesale Pricing

We are now offering Wholesale and Private Labeling Pricing. To receive these prices you must contact me with a valid e-mail address. I will then send you a PDF file of the current rates and product availability.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Putting Your Best Foot Forward

What are you doing to create an identifiable, cohesive product? This has been one of my goals this create an image for Soap Scent-sations that is not only about what the products look like, but also about the quality and heart behind this business.

The early part of this year has been spent in my formulary. Same great products re-worked to be just what this business is all about...quality ingredients, small batches, light scents, and the encompassing idea that bath and body products can be fun and good for your skin at the same time.

Now that I truly feel that my products meet up to my own personal standards as well as the business standards and goals I have set for myself and also meeting ever important FDA regulations, I am working on creating a cohesiveness among the products. When you see one of my products, it should be easily identifiable as a product of Soap Scent-sations. Below is a sampling of what you can expect to find in the months to come.