Beneficial and Delightful Soap for Skin, Senses & Spirit

Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Eve of a New Decade....

I cannot believe that it is New Years Eve. What happened to 2009?  For that matter, what happened to the past 18 years?!
Speaking of memory lapse, I have been thinking about how I started using handmade soap.
After years of trying every cosmetic and face product ever made, I ordered a bar of handmade soap many years ago. The soap had beeswax, honey and goat milk in the brew.
We were in love within 48 hours.
I have sensitive skin - touchy, thin, with a tendency to be dry and red. I have pampered my skin for as long as I can remember.
After I started using the handmade soap, my "personal care" costs went waaay down....
I tried more soaps.
Loved them, but still not my perfect match. Like a mad chemist, I tweeked recipes and mixed lye solutions...I bought exotic butters and a basement full of supplies.
And then - the magic happened. I customized two soap recipes for myself - bingo!
That is where my addiction started....
I have studied art, aromatherapy, homeopathy and the ancient art of Ayurveda - put these together and you have my personal favorite soaps.

The soaps above are made with my secret formula, rosewater, essential oils and a bit of French clay. These are perfect for summer use as they calm any irritation from heat and tend to cool. Formulated with almond butter, coconut oil and sunflower oil and lightly scented with a special Ayurvedic blend of essential oils, this is my "go to" soap.

The soap above is my winter favorite. Great for the blustery weather and incessant dryness and cold we are currently experiencing. It is a baby soap recipe that I adapted with gentle French white clay and turmeric, super-fatted with castor oil and shea butter. This soap has avocado and jojoba oil in it too. Most of my soaps are olive oil based, but this soap is truly special! It lathers in a tangibly rich way and my skin never feels tight.
In fact, since I have been using my own soaps, I never have a bad skin day!
So, for 2010, DITCH THE COMMERCIAL DETERGENT and pick up a bar of handmade soap. I prefer that you use mine (I have about 20 different kinds in the cure rack. Photos, soon. Promise!), but any good soapmaker's soap will convert you. Look for soap made in the cold processed or hot processed modes. Choose a soap based on your needs. Read the ingredient list. For instance, I cannot use strongly scented soap (sadly).
Keep these things in mind when you look for your personal soap. If the soap is handmade, you probably cannot go wrong with any selection. To my eye, the "ugliest" (rustic-appearing) soaps are the best!!
Handmade soap can be anywhere from $3 to $9+, depending on the ingredients and size. Start with a smallish bar (3-4 oz) or a few samples. 
Good soap lasts a long time if it has been cured (aged) properly, so please store it on a well-draining deck or dish. Plunk down a few extra dollars for a good deck. It will serve you well.
So - I leave you with glad tidings of PEACE and JOY for a safe, healthy and happy 2010...

In Peace and Beauty...........and may you always have a good skin day!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Visit Indiepublic

Taking a short break before

restocking the Etsy shop with new items!  Please check back in 2010 (!).

If there is any soap you would like to inquire about, please comment below, or drop us an email at Thank you!
In beauty....

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day

I want to take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you happiness and health. Thank you for reading my blog.....what is the point of writing without a reader?
Below is a photograph of a lovely castile soap stack that is made with citrus essential oils - bergamot, sweet orange, lemon, lime & tangerine, anchored with may chang and vetivert. I wish that you could smell this soap! It smells heavenly to me.
I colored the soap with a blend of turmeric (amazing stuff) and some gold mica. The soap stack is decorated for the holidays and resting on its dedicated oak soap deck. Doesn't hurt that it is posing in front of the fireplace with a sparkly gold ribbon!

Yours in Gratitude, Truth and Beauty...
May all of your days be filled with warmth and love.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Solstice Soap

Today is the shortest day of the year. To celebrate the solstice, I thought I would make some new soap. Surprise!
I broke out of my hot process mode and made a cold process Sea Salt bar of coconut milk, coconut oil, avocado oil and castor oil and as much sea salt as oils. I scented this batch with Tahitian flowers, mango and melon essences. I colored the soap a cheery tangerine color. I sliced it up and placed the pieces on top of my credenza to cure for the next 4 weeks.
This type of soap gets very hard, very fast. The sea salt soap is much beloved and revered by some, and disliked by others. I like the salt soaps in the summer if I have suffered insect bites. I find the salt clears the sting and bites fast.
I have christened this batch "Figi Sea Salt Bars".
Can you tell that I am dreaming of the tropics?
Next up, I made another soap with lots of coconut milk, palm oil, castor oil and cocoa butter. The cocoa butter has that delicious aroma of chocolate, which worked nicely with the French Vanilla scent I concocted. I added nutmeg essential oil, lemon & myrrh.
I attempted a pale blue swirl with a touch of iridescent mica, but I don't know how that will turn out. I will find out when I unmold the batch tomorrow. I am anxious to try the coconut milk soaps. More experimentation going on - I have used coconut milk as an additive, but now I am subbing it for my distilled water. Stay tuned...
In honor of the first day of winter, I am posting some photos of the hot process soap I have been churning out

Above is a beeswax and honey hot process soap. The bar on the left is unscented and smells divine. The bars on the right were scented with rosewood essential oil and Turkish Rose of Otto. Curiously, the rosewood bars are not as perfumed as the unscented. Go figure?

Above is "Snow White", a pure olive oil soap. No scent or color. Lovely. My photo is a tad out of focus...must have been that pearly white blinding me! This soap will take a good 4 months to cure even though it was hot-processed. With castile-type soaps (olive oil), the longer the cure, the better the bar. Castile might be the perfect bar if aged well. Perhaps a year will do it. Seriously.

This is my hot processed "Gingerbread Soap" with Blackstrap Molasses, colloidal oats and a bit of cocoa. This soap is nice and hard. I like the faint swirl in the body of the bar. I added some vanilla (just like the bread recipe) and that usually turns soap dark. It is a good thing in soap. Think of the the vanilla bean, or the vanilla extract used in cooking...dark and delicious.

Last, but not least, here is my "Winter" soap that was as fussy as a prima donna. I added so much shea butter to this batch that I will be fortunate if it fully cures before next fall! It is a vanilla scented soap with tangerine to brighten it up a bit. I even rebatched this soap which accounts for the marbling appearance of the colors. See the tiny bit of gold mica on the tops?
I love the way these hot process soaps appear rustic. You can recognize the process by the distinct look of the soap. Most of the cold process soaps appear silkier and smoother and can be swirled like divinity.
Well - I like 'em both! Come on. We all know that I am a soap addict.
Happy Yule and Winter Solstice everyone!
In Beauty, Peace & Love...

Monday, December 14, 2009

December 14th ...already?!

Hi everyone! Mid-December, already?! How did that happen?!! Is Y2K over yet?!
Seriously, I have been busy making hot process soap. I am addicted and feeling the pressure of the clock ticking away until Christmas, so I have not written anything in awhile.
I had a brilliant idea (?) to make a "soap of the month". Clearly, I am wild with ideas and careen from one recipe to another. I need to stop the insanity and settle down!
Yesterday, I began my "Winter" soap in earnest. I made my current fave batch (olive oil and a smidgen of coconut oil), superfatted with shea butter. I divided the batch and scented a portion with a very nice vanilla and the rest with a lovely citrus and incense. I then poured my batters into a prepared mold.
The vanilla scented portion turned a lovely light beige, nicely contrasting with the creamy ivory color of the rest of the batch.
This morning, I anxiously cut into the soap loaf.
It crumbled apart.
I spent most of the day doing a rebatch. I am going to leave that puppy alone for a few days. Soap in Mold isolation! I hope that it turns out better looking than when it went into the mold.
If it works, the soap will now be "January" soap.
I then made a batch of gingerbread soap to cheer myself up. I threw in some oats and blackstrap molasses.  I usually do not make the 'baked goods' type of soap except for the holidays.
This gingerbread soap is another great experiment. I rather like the little "surprises", and happy accidents in soapmaking,  but I despise wasting a goodly amount of nice oils, butters and time.
I had made a gorgeous castile soap. Total success. Pure and lovely. It is drying/curing.
Also had a batch of honey and beeswax soap that is nice. I split that batch up and left a portion unscented, but with the aromatic sweetness of the honey and beeswax. The other soap I scented with rosewood essential oil and tonka bean with a touch of vanilla absolute. It smells spicy - not at all what I expected.
The longer the soap dries (cures), the milder, harder and bubblier it becomes...sometimes that translates into a dimming of the fragrance. As much as I love good scent, I appreciate an artful and quality bar of soap more!
I set aside some holiday soaps that I need to get packed up and out for gifts. That will take my day tomorrow. Not my favorite thing to do, but it gives me a sense of 'completion'.
Now, I must practice patience........and not keep sneaking peeks at the molded soaps!!
I will try to get some fotos up of the new soaps, but for now, I will leave you with the Spicy Ginger Cherub -

In love, peace and beauty ....

Saturday, December 5, 2009

New Holiday Soaps on Etsy

Have you looked at the calendar?! YIKES!!! Need a few items for those stocking stuffers? Check these out!
We are very excited about our new holiday soaps!!!
GIANT-sized chunks of lots of soapy love in Coffee Royale (great for a masculine soap, but women love it too). Pictured below ... this is a handsome hunk of dark coffee-infused glycerin and milk-based soap. Enhanced with very thin slivers of gleaming gold mica and opal mica, then scented with a black coffee, vetivert and musky essence, this soap is both sexy and regal. It weighs approximately 7.7 ounces.

Next is our Cinnamon Sugar Cake....please buy this soap and get it out of my studio! It is making me so hungry! The darned soap smells exactly like those evil, tempting cinnamon rolls that are sold at every airport these days. This GINORMOUS serving is over 7 ounces of love, cinnamon and vanilla swirls, topped with shea butter "icing". Yikes! Cinnamon and vanilla are reputed aphrodisiacs and are also supposed to help you sell your house quickly.......just sayin'....

And last, but not least, there is our irresistible version of Candy Cane - a huge slab (app. 7 oz) of vanilla, mints and sweet orange, all swirled together in red, pink and white temptation. This chunk could easily be cut in half and perform double duty for the lucky recipient. Beloved by children and adults, nothing says Happy Holidays like Candy Canes - but this one leaves out the high fructose corn syrup. Yay!

These soaps are skin friendly, indulgent, luscious and will not trip you up on any low carb diet. Promise!
The generous sizes make them great, truly impressive gifts.
You can find these holiday soaps at my Etsy site. Simply click to the right of this column under "My Links" or here
Yours in love, peace and beauty ....