Friday, December 24, 2010

Bird on Branch Mini Chocolate Covered Cakes on SoapQueen

This delicious, edible chocolate project is made with my bird.on.branch mold available at Bramble Berry. Originally intended for soap making, the mold material is PERFECT for molding chocolate! I have provided a gluten free vegan recipe for the cake as well as links/resources for vegan chocolate and cream filling if you want to make this project all Vegan. Check it out on the Soap Queen Blog.

I made these cute labels for the cakes - download the free clip art for the labels here: Bird.on.Branch Mini Chocolate Cake labels

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Charlie the Squirrel

Charlie the squirrel, king of Sherman Oaks, CA paid us a visit during our morning coffee. He was surprisingly bold walking right up to our feet. Being from the East Coast where Squirrels are evil I was a little jumpy. Luckily he was after my pumpkin seeds and not my toes!


Monday, December 6, 2010

Etsy Wedding inspiration

I love it when I have a chance to slip away to do a little wedding planning. Here are a few of my favorite picks from Etsy:
Designer Inspired Wedding Dress 

Paloma's Nest 
CUSTOM Ring Bearer Bowl (TM) with blooming branch - personalized ring dish for wedding and commitment ceremony -the original ring bowl design by Paloma's Nest

 spicelab magnetic spice rack. dark brown frame with eight containers.
makes a great gift for a home chef. 







Sunday, December 5, 2010

Enough Soap for A Year!

Ok, that is silly. After all, I have enough soap for a few dozen years, but I am not talking about my soap, I am talking about the fabulous soap I procured at the Nova Studio's 7th Anniversary Party soap swap! I don't even know... it is maybe 10 bars! (yes,) It was a while ago but I just dusted off some pics I took and brought out the soap to reacquaint myself with the lovely scents, and just had to share them with you!

Lori Nova
Sirona Springs Soap
Loft Soap
Sherry Mantranga
Nanda Soap
Garden Natural
Naiad Soap Arts
-plus others that didn't have info on the label. If you were also a contributor please post your info in a comment!
Garden Natural

 This really smells like Dill Pickle no joke! I love it!!!

 Sirona Springs

Um - Soapeez packaging it too cute!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Sugar Cube Video from Soap Queen!

Anne-Marie aka Soap Queen of Brambleberry has made this awesome video illustrating how to make my solid sugar scrubs! She adapted my recipe from the soap queen blog (here) to make these fantastic neapolitan scented scrubs! Get the recipe on the Soap Queen blog and watch the video here:

Make Solid Sugar Soap Scrub from Soap Queen on Vimeo.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Lip Balms and Sugar Cubes get a Facelift!

Wow! I hadn't realized it has been so long since my last post! I have been Busy, Busy, Busy for the holidays, I recently got engaged (yay!), am planning new classes at the Nova Studio (more details to come!) and just launched the new package design for the Lip Balms and Bath Sugar Cubes! There are new scents and new flavors like Lemon Gingergrass Bath Sugar Cubes with natural color and essential oils and 100% all natural Lemon Sorbet Lip Balm. Enjoy! xoxoxo


And our popular Brown Sugar and Fig Bath Sugar Cubes are back with a feature in HGTV's Handmade Gift Guide under Gifts for Her

To learn how to make these scrubs you can but the eClass from the Nova Studio or sign up for one of two classes I am teaching at the Nova Studio in March 2011!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Weekend at the Nova Studio

The new Nova Studio Sign

I had a blast last weekend at the Nova Studio, where I participated in a Lip Sugar Scrub demo at the 7th Anniversary Party and taught the Simply Sweet Sugar Scrubs Class. The Nova Studio is a place to learn everything bath and body. The owner, Lori Nova is an expert soap maker offering classes in Cold Process soap making, and a 4 day Bath and Body Boot Camp. The studio also offers classes taught by a variety of teachers including Lotions & Creams, Healing Balms and Salves, Advanced CP soap Design, Eco-Friendly Candle making, the 2 Day Soapylove "Book" Camp, a 4 Day Bath & Body BUSINESS Boot Camp, and many more!

My class had students from all over the Bay Area and one couple that came all the way from Mexico City to take the class! I was honored. It was also nice to see some of my Facebook Fans there, after I figured out they were fans (darn those tiny avatar pics, and the fact that I suck with remembering names!)

The Anniversary party was a blast. There were a ton of raffle prizes generously donated by various companies which you can check out here. I was on a table featuring a demo and make & take lip sugar scrubs, Ruth Esteves of Sirona Springs  demo'ed the shrink wrap system from National Shrink Wrap which I own and which is awesome, Alice Duvernell did a make & take and Q&A session on Facial Steams sponsored by Mountain Rose Herbs, and Melanie Monteverde did a demo and samples of Aroma Beads sponsored by Elements Bath & Body.

Here are some pics!

my Lip Sugar Scrub demo table

raffle table
counting down the minutes until the door open!
 the teachers: Erin Pikor, Melanie Monteverde, Alice Duvernell, Ruth Esteves, Lori Nova

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Liquid soap is a success - sort of

So after two failed attempts I have successfully made liquid soap! Horray! Customers have been asking for it and I can finally add it to the line! Bottles are on their way - no going back now! I used a recipe from The Liquid Soap Making ebook that I bought by Anne-Marie Faiola of Brambleberry for just $7.95!
 Me making the soap. I had to use a plug for the crock pot and to get better leverage I was standing on a stool. It looks a little silly - my room mate came out into the kitchen and snapped this shot after saying something like "you never know what you are going to see when you walk out into the kitchen".

To make liquid soap you use potassium hydroxide which allows to soap to stay in a semi liquid state, rather than sodium hydroxide which makes hard bar soap. It is a hot process method so you have to cook the soap until it is completely saponified, but the bonus is you don't have to cure it for 4-6 weeks - it is ready to use after it is fully cooked! The cooking process makes a paste that is then diluted with distilled water then thickened. I made a Castor/Olive oil soap and with the soft oils it took quite a lot of time - 9 hours to cook the paste plus 1 hour to trace the soap!
 Cooked Soap Paste

Here are the dilution tests. As you can see, the last test is clear (you can see by counter top through the bottom)

The next step it to test fragrance. Not all Fragrance oils and essential oils mix well into liquid soap so testing before scenting a whole batch is absolutely key! I tested 24 in all! These are tests of 2 oz of thickened soap with 1.5 ml of fragrance or EO.

The big winners - these stayed clear and did not break down or separate the soap. The Almond stayed clear but made the soap a darker shade:
• Cybilla Almond FO from Bramble Berry
• Sweetgrass FO from Bramble Berry
• Peppermint Essential Oil

Runners up - These are almost clear - so close - more translucent
• Bamboo Sugarcane type FO by Crafters Choice
Gardenia FO by Bramble Berry
• Pineapple Cilantro FO by Bramble Berry

Other tests either Milky, broke down the soap so it was very liquid or separated:
Kumquat - separated soap
Brown Sugar & Fig - separated soap

Separated soap

Pumpkin Pie FO - turned soap dark/milky
Red Tea Lychee FO - soap is clear with some separation but soap broke down to very liquid
Tahitian Vanilla FO - turned soap dark/milky/broke soap down to very liquid
Mediterranean Fig type FO - milky
Passionfruit Pineapple FO - milky
Sun Ripened Raspberry FO - milky
Santa's Spruce FO - milky
Wassail FO - turned soap dark/milky
Peach FO - milky/some separation
Clean type FO - milky
Fresh Bamboo FO - milky
Wasabi FO - milky
Cranberry Fig FO - milky

French Lavender EO - milky
Lemongrass EO - milky
Tea Tree EO - milky
Rosemary EO - milky

It is possible that some of these will perform better with less fragrance - again this is 1.5 ml of fragrance in 2 oz of soap. Really devote a whole batch to testing. This batch made over a gallon of soap and all of it will be used to test fragrances.

If anyone tests other fragrances and would like to share - let me know so I can grow the list!

Off to do more testing! Happy Soaping!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

More from Otion's SWI 2010

I was just going through some pics from the Soap Weekend Intensive (SWI) a couple of weekends ago and I wanted to share! I met the wonderful Jude Birch who runs Aussie Soap Supplies in Australia while I was there. I can't believe she came all the way from Australia! She taught swirling and layering Cold Process techniques this year.  I had a blast hanging out with her when we weren't teaching. She is an amazing soaper and you can read an little interview with her, here at the Soap King Blog!

FYI- even if you missed the SWI this year you can still take classes at Otion. Here is the class schedule!

I thought the project she taught were lovely and we had a fun little photo shoot in the building where Otion is located:

Here's me and Jude!
Some of the students

The mess I made prepping for my class
Me drinking a beer making a sour puss face :)


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