Tuesday, November 6, 2012

You're going to vote anyway so...

If you think you have seen this before it is because I just sent a newsletter with this exact text. I am lazy BUT I did add commentary below! :)

Post a Picture of you and your "I Voted" sticker on our Facebook Page for a chance to win a $25 shopping spree! (and free shipping) Be sure to "LIKE" us while you are there! If you are shy you can just post your sticker, and maybe your voter pamphlet or your hand or something! BE HONEST - it promotes good Kharma! :)

Post until Friday, November 9th at 6pm EST. I guess, considering the circumstances, this is for our USA Subscribers only. Sorry my friends afar!

Want to browse in anticipation of your win?
Etsy Shop
Big Cartel Shop

Just a side note - being an informed citizen is HARD sometimes! Especially when it comes to state issues and local candidates. I personally try and block out the TV ads and mailer bombardment, and do a little independent research to find the truth behind scare tactics and bent truths. I got my mail in ballot weeks ago, thinking I would just go a head and fill it out, mail it in, easy peezy, but I was in for it. It took 3 full days to research all of the propositions in California. I felt like I was researching a term paper! It was hard to get a straight line on any of them and what I found interesting was seeing who paid to get the props on the ballot and how the beliefs of those people fit mine. I'll just say it - I am pretty liberal but have been a registered Republican, Democrat and now Independent. I know that as life and experience press on, beliefs may change but the important thing is that you go out and exercise your right to have your beliefs represented! Happy Election Day everyone!


Monday, October 29, 2012

Etsy new Search by Relevance - an experiment!

Looking but not finding? We try to get more proactive about who is finding us on the web!

I have noticed a sharp drop in Sales on Etsy in the past couple of months so I did a search for my items and they were pages deep. Ok, I just did a search for soap and expected to see my items, ones I just listed come up right away, but they were buried! My item "Blood Orange & Rose Artisan Soap" was 3 pages deep in the search but you know who had multiple soap on the first page? The guy who calls his soaps this "Bamboo Soap, Vegan Soap, Unscented Soap, All Natural Soap, Handmade Soap".  Those same words were in the first line of the product description as well!
In August Etsy switched from a "by most recently listed" search to a SEO based relevancy search and I am thinking my listings are just not "relevant" enough!

Yesterday I listed about 8 items on Etsy and noticed they were not getting any hits! With the recently listed search my items would have been in double digit looks within minutes but after 3 hours my numbers were 0-3 looks per item. Yikes!

I started looking around and found a GREAT blog post on the issue on the papernstitch blog, so I have used the guidance in this post to change my Etsy listings. I have to admit I never really knew how SEO worked and this post on How Stuff Works makes it easy!

I have changed all of my product descriptions and titles to include one or more of the following:
Shea Butter Soap, Olive Oil Soap, Clay Soap, Vegan Soap, Moisturizing Soap, Natural Soap, Scented Soap, Herbal Soap, Exfoliating Soap.

I hope it works and will follow up if I see an uptick in views to my items!

? Have you had the same issue with the new way Etsy allows buyers to search items? Have you found a successful method for getting seen?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cute Big Cartel Find!

I have a thing for stamps! It is a great way to get cool graphics onto just about anything and a quick and easy way to make custom note cards on a budget. I was thrilled when I ran across this site called Paper Pastries while browsing on Big Cartel! They even do custom stamps!

This set makes me want to write more letters!
This would be so cute for a kids Birthday invitation!
I want this one for when the Husband and I FINALLY drive cross country! It would be cute to color in the state you are traveling through when you send the card! That reminds me - I have to update my address book! :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Real Fruit Jewelry!

I got three big orders all at once and have been in production full swing. Needless to say Soap A Day Project has been put on hold for now and I have been struggling to find time to market but I am sending samples for the August Eco Emi box and will continue with the Thursday specials which have been a success! So I am marketing a little :)

It has been a busy month so I decided to get myself a little gift! I found the shop realfruitjewelry out of Philadelphia, through the Etsy Blog. Their concept is to take food, dry it out and encase it in resin to preserve its natural color, and make it into awesome jewelry! The prices are almost too good to be true - all pieces are between $18 and $45! I got this lovely blood orange pendant for myself:

all pics © realfruitjewelry

Some other favorites:
I love the naturally cool shape of the cross section of the walnut shell!

I can almost taste these!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Soap A Day Project: Day 22

I had so much that I was going to say and I forgot it all because I am in a food coma! It makes me a little ashamed just to say it. Consuming large amounts of food with friends and family always seems like a good idea on the holidays and then I think about the ever growing waste line, and waste in general in Rich countries and I get a little upset at myself! Oh well! I will just have to do some hard manual labor in the next couple of days to justify the 200g + of protein I ate today. Next year I am going to take it easier on the eating and focus more on the patriotic songs and parades and being thankful that I have my loved ones and my freedom!

I also think that I am getting sick (may be cause for the sarcasm). The throat is feeling a little scratchy and the ears are a bit sore. Bleh! A friend of mine just had his gall badder removed. He looks like hell (sorry friend) and is in serious pain, not to mention he can't pick up his 4 month old baby for 2-3 weeks. I think I can deal with a little cold and will try to not feel sorry for myself when it starts getting worse!

So, in lighter news, I am happy with this soap! I have been struggling with how to achieve the concept and ended up wrecking a cheapo basic square mold to get this done - totally worth it! The execution isn't perfect and will be revisited, but the proof of concept was a success!
 Hooray for Helvetica!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Soap A Day Project: Day 20 and 21

I have been making so much CP soap lately and I am really liking these soap cupcakes from the leftovers. I am not wasting any soap! I am struggling with a few designs on the more labor intensive glycerin soaps that I have been doing, but these have been a fun change up! I have skipped some days and am ashamed of it. At least I can honestly say I wasn't being lazy, just busy!

Day 20:

 I have been working my butt off on the new soap bar packaging and am almost done with the 15 artwork changes that I have to get off to the printer! I have gone through many revisions and plan to show you guys so you can get an idea of the process I go through when I design!
 Day 21:

Some soaps I have put on hold and will add back in later and I am adding some new ones too! Also, I am bringing back the tea tree facial soap! It was always a favorite but I was disappointed with my presentation of the soap and scraped it on that alone. Boo on me!

Friday, June 29, 2012

A Soap A Day Project: Day 19

I am so loving making soap cupcakes with left over CP soap! I am currently changing the size of my soap bars and re-doing the packaging, so I am making batches of every soap that I sell to cut and cure at the new size, and have been getting lots of leftover CP! For those that don't know what CP means, it stands for Cold Process, which is just a method of making soap! ;)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Soap A Day Project: Day 18

More on the Mother of Pearl theme! I actually made these little embeds in Washington and brought them back on the plane with me! They are in clear soap and it is double sided!

I like the subtle pastel and white in clear. It reminds me that I have been wanting to do some white on white compositions in oil paint! I have a few statues, vases, plates, and decorative objects in white so maybe this weekend I will set up a still life and get to it!

White on white compositions always interest me! You really get to see how light effects color and depending on the source, white on white compositions can be in shades of grey or have other hints of color. I just love the pallets you get!

A Soap A Day Project: Day 17

The metal table outside has this pattern and I have been wanting to do something with it for a while now!
a couple messy areas but that's ok!
The comment below reminded me that I should pay homage to the color inspiration! A cake from GloriousTreats.com


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Soap A Day Project: Day 16

Leftover soap CP cupcakes. I am taking the recycling to the extreme!
So Tired! Going to bed!

Annoyed that dew is forming on my soap INSIDE of the shrink wrap! Bleh!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Soap A Day Project: Day 15

Soap From Friday! This actually took the weekend to make. The reason: I was making it in between other production so I only had time to pour one color each hour. Making just one soap like this is actually more difficult than making a whole loaf. In a loaf mold this would be a cross section, but because this was the flat top of one soap, I had to pour the color, then cut a strip and pour color next to it, then cut, then pour, then cut, and so on.
So, the whole time I was making this I was thinking about how inefficient it was to create. Efficiency is not the point of this project so I wasn't worried about that, but all weekend I thought about ways to make my processes more efficient so I can produce more with the same or fewer resources, including less man power, simpler but equally as gorgeous design, less time, and less packaging. I especially focused on packaging and resources as they are my little hang up with making soap.

Water: I think I can save 75% - 80%!
Water is a HUGE concern for me. We are so wasteful with potable water! I live in a dessert and people here want to make it look like the UK with all the grass and other water sucking plants that we maintain. My husband and I rent a house and it has a lawn which makes me a little sick. REALLY! There isn't much I can do about it except let it go brown and dormant during the summer, which I do, and which annoys my neighbors. Oh, well, I am not wasting 100 gallons of drinking water a week to maintain a lawn that I don't use and that shouldn't be planted here anyway. When I see hug complexes with rolling emerald patches of lawn it hurts me inside. REALLY!

I currently use too much water to wash soap making dishes. How can I run the water less?
1) Soak, melt and pour melting containers immediately when the soap is still liquid. Run the sponge over them to clean with the soaking water and then rinse quickly! Or, let the soap set up a little then peel it out of the container so there is less to wash.
2) For Cold Process, soak the utensils in soapy water and again, clean off with the soaking water then rinse quickly.
This is all to prevent me running the water as I am scrubbing with the sponge.
3) For the Cold Process pots, let them sit overnight until the soap sets up and then scrape most of it off. They can then be soaked and cleaned with the method above, but I can do it outside over the lawn and ornamental plants. I have done this before when soaping in 5 gallon buckets and the soap doesn't seem to harm the plants so I am just going to to this with ALL of my CP batches. I am going to say this will keep the tap off 75% - 80% more than it currently is!

This will take more time, and I will need more pots and containers as some will have soap setting up in them when I need a pot for a new batch of soap. Saving potable water is worth a little extra time, but I can still be productive while pots and containers are soaking. As with everything it will be more efficient in an assembly line fashion so I will just make washing an assembly line task!

Packaging is the next task to overhaul! I am moving towards all biodegradable and less less less! Stay Tuned!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Soap Weekend Intensive 2012

Detailed post at the Soap Queen Blog!
Me getting crazy with the sugar!
Last weekend I had the pleasure of teaching at Otion's Soap Weekend Intensive, a once a year weekend packed with top notch instructors teaching an array of Bath and Body recipes and techniques! I was so honored to be asked to teach Sugar Scrubs this year! We did a Whipped Scrub, Sugar Cubes and a Salt Glow! All recipes specially created for the SWI!

Thanks to Anne-Marie, Kat, Debbie, Kim, Courtney, Amber, Kristin, and little Jamisen! You guys made my stay amazing!

You can get all of the deets over at the Soap Queen Blog!

Otion does classes year round. If you are in the Bellingham Washington area or just want to fly up for a private lesson you can see the schedule here: Otion Soap Classes

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Soap A Day Project: Day 14

When I was a kid I thought I was so smart! All of the smart people on TV, and grown ups at my grandparents house knew how to play chess. I was saying some arrogant little kid thing to an adult about how I knew how to play chess and that made me smart, and I forget who had to break it to me that I was actually playing checkers! It was a cruel day!

A Soap A Day Project: Day 13

I like working with all clear soap and brightly colored embeds! Gotta LOVE clear M&P!
Ok, I have officially lost track - I have random bars of soap laying around that I have to take pictures of! Not that it is that hard - the pics are all pretty standard! This is the soap I made for Wednesday so I guess I am only a day behind.

This soap really made me mad! I had thin little delicate strips of soap cut and I could not for the life of me get them to stay upright in the mold so they all fell over! My big clumsy fingers got in the way, I tried tweezers but my hands weren't steady enough. It could be that it was about 2 hours past my bedtime once I was finished with this. Also, once I poured the clear soap all the embeds moved out of place. You probably can't really tell but there should have been thinner stripes and more of them, very carefully placed in straight rows. I am going to try this one again for sure!
So I am a day behind and I find myself working on things for too long, in order to get a result that may not be better. This is a pattern! I spent a really long time researching new packaging yesterday rather than filling my last order for the week so now I am going to have to work for part of tomorrow. I don't NEED to redo my packaging but I NEED to make soap for my customers! I was just more interested in the packaging at the time! Silly me! FOCUS FOCUS!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Soap A Day Project Day: Day 12

The Updated picture!
Whew - almost missed it! It was dark when I finally got around to taking this picture after a busy day of production and a great workout at the gym. I will get a better pic to change out tomorrow. There is a 3D effect going on with this one that might be hard to see at this angle.

PROCRASTINATION is the word of the day! I didn't have a list of what I needed to get done and I wasted a lot of time! I need to make a more clear cut schedule for myself and assign time slots to projects so I don't go overboard on some things and neglect other things!

Some good news! I have a meeting set up with one of my local retailers to get my entire product line on their new website for sale! Whoo Hoo! I also have a proposal for them to customize their instore display. It is kind of a prototype that I want to test out with someone I have a good relationship with before making it an official product! I want to work on my branding so I am looking at offering displays for my Soaps and Lip Balms with my logo center stage and more memorable!
This is an in progress photo. I am now photographing the projects and steps as I go so I can recreate the projects later for a book of Tutorials! Looks messy huh? There is a lot of clean up involved with these to get a polished final soap!

Overgrown Mint - What to Do!

Flank Steak with Key Lime and Mint Marinade, Mango Peach Salsa and Roasted Veggies! 
Healthy and Low Carb!  

The mint in my garden is out of control! The stuff kind of grows like a weed anyway but mine is out of the planter boxes and is invading the yard! I harvested most of it to dry and use in soap and tea, and kept some fresh to use for cooking. Key limes were also on sale so I bought a pound of those and wanted to see what I could do with Lime and Mint for this weeks menu. Also, having been gone for a few days meant that all of the fresh fruit and veggies I had in the fridge were about ready to GO so I came up with some recipes to utilize the Mint, Limes and produce - I hate to waste food!
Key Lime and Mint Marinade
• 1/4 C. Fresh Mint Leaves washed and chopped
• 4 Cloves of Garlic peeled and rough chopped (more if you like!)
• 1/4 C. Fresh Key Lime Juice
• 2 T. Olive Oil
• 2 T. White Wine
• 1 T. Honey
• 1 t. Chile Paste or one small chopped Chile
• 1 t. Fresh ground Pepper
• 1/2 t. Kosher Salt

Throw everything into a small food processor and blend until smooth! This marinade is great for Meat and Poultry. I encourage you to try it on fish but the flavors might be too bold for mild fish.

Score a 2.5-3 lb flank steak on both sides across the grain. Place in a freezer bag and pour the marinade over the steak making sure the whole steak is covered. Marinate for 2-4 hours.
Mango Peach Salsa with Key Lime and Mint
This Salsa goes SOOOO well with the marinated Flank Steak!

• 1 Ripe Mango peeled and chopped
• 3 Ripe Peaches peeled and chopped
• 1/4 C. Fresh Mint Leaves Minced
• 1 Green or Red Chile roasted, peeled, and chopped. Any works, as hot or mild as you'd like! The Chile I used was about 2 T. chopped
• Pinch of Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste

Mix everything together in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for one hour to let flavors mix!
BE VERY CAREFUL when working with Chile Peppers! I like to wear gloves but if you are working with bare hands be sure to not accidentally rub your eyes or nose - it will BURN!

To Roast a Chile place it on the middle of your baking rack and roast at 400 degrees until the skin blackens and starts to separate from the flesh of the pepper. After Roasting the chile wrap it in a plastic wrap for 5 -10 minutes until it is cool to the touch. It will steam in the plastic and this will help you to remove the skin. Let the Chile cool completely since escaping steam can also burn your eyes and nose from heat and Capsaicin.

You can scrape out the seeds or leave them in. The seeds are very hot and will add a great deal of spice to the salsa.
Roasted Veggies!
You can use any Veg that you like - here is what I used:

• 1 Red Bell Pepper
• 1 Yellow Pepper
• 3 small to medium Zucchini (I think this is actually a fruit)
• 1 Sweet Onion
Toss in:
• 3 Cloves of Garlic Minced
• 1 t. Ground Rosemary
• 3 T. Olive Oil
• 1/2 T. each of Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper

Wash the veggies, de-seed the Peppers and remove the skin from the Onion. Cut the pepper and Onions into large chunks. Slice the Zucchini lengthwise.

Toss in the Oil, Garlic, Rosemary and Salt & Pepper. Spread on a cookie sheet and roast in a 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes until the veggies are tender. If you like the veggies less cooked then try 10-15 minutes.

Flank Steak!
Let the Flank Steak come to Room Temperature and remove from the bag. Pat dry with towel paper.

Fire up the Grill and coat the rack with oil. The grill is hot enough when you hold your hand about an inch over it and you can only hold it there for about a second. Grill the steak on about 4-5 minutes on each side for medium.

You can also cook the Flank Steak in a Cast Iron Skillet on the stovetop. Get the skillet nice and hot, coat in oil and cook the steak for 4-5 minutes on each side for medium.

When cutting the flank steak to serve it is best to cut think slices across the grain. This cut of Meat can be tough if cut with the grain!

Put it all on a plate and eat it up! 

You will have lots of leftovers! Steak sandwiches anyone????

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Soap A day Project Days 9-11

 I want to continue more on this Mother of Pearl thing. I was browsing the interweb and came across a Mother of Pearl inlay box and then searched for Mother of Pearl and the look translates well into Melt and Pour Soap! The possibilities are endless!
I was desperate for this one! I was hanging out for the Cold Process class at the Soap Weekend Intensive, helping to clean up and realized I hadn't made my soap for the day! I scraped out all of the leftover soap from the mixing bowls students were using, and managed to put together enough soap to make this little 2 ouncer! I used a paper coffee cup for the mold and random micas that were laying around to attempt to do a swirl on top. It is scented with lavender and peppermint - two of my favorites, so I may end up using this one! I am definitely adding a Lavender peppermint to the all natural line!
This was made on Sunday after teaching a scrubs class. Debbie of Soapylove taught a Neon Melt and Pour class earlier in the morning which was so fun so when I saw this mold at Otion I just had to do something with it! I love the detail in the mold! It was fun to play with!

A Soap A Day Project: Day 8

I was fortunate enough to be able to continue this project while on the road visiting Bramble Berry and Otion! It got a little banged up in transit home! The inspiration is pretty self explanatory - traveling!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

In the Air!

I am flying right now - well by the time this is posted anyway. I promise you I did not turn on my phone, endangering all of the passengers on my flight, just to write a post. :)

I am on my way to Bellingham Washington Home of Brambleberry and Otion, to teach at this year's Soap Weekend Intensive! You can see what it is all about here. Last I looked there was a spot left, which is rare, so if any of my readers are in the area and come want to learn how to make a variety of bath and body products, you may still have a chance!

Me and students from the 2012 SWI!

I am teaching Sugar Scrubs this year. I am doing a clay based facial scrub, a salt glow and my famous sugar cubes! I am so excited! It is sure to be a blast. I will try and update as much as possible on my Facebook page and I am sure they will be posting over at the Soap Queen Blog!

A Soap A Day Project: Day 7

I am doubling up on soap posts today since the light went down yesterday and I couldn't get my pictures taken! I do all of my photos in natural light so if I don't do it early the light gets lost! This is a visual representation of the all day headache I had yesterday. :) WARNING: Don't stare too long! I definitely got out of my comfort zone with the bright neon colors but I like it!
 I love how the backing pink color creates a neon glow in the white soap dish!
NOTE: I am traveling until Monday but hope to still do my Soap A Day but I may have to post all of them when I get back. I will try and post quick pictures from my phone on my Facebook page!


Related Posts with Thumbnails