Saturday, May 31, 2008

Lavender Chamomile Bergamot Soap

This is the top of my soap batch that I made last night. Like I promised, I would take a picture.

Unfortunately, this is the best lighting I took it in since I didn't get home until after dark and prefer to use natural sunlight for my picture taking.

But this does give you an idea of the design on the top. this pic is a slab of soap and you are seeing the slab from the top. I haven't actually cut the soap into bars yet. I prefer to use horizontal soap molds rather than vertical ones. I like the look of them better for the most part even though they tend to take up more table space.

Fun looking, isn't it? I tried to get the color as true as possible in the pic, but I fear the green is a bit off. The green IS a bright green, and the light color swirl is actually a very pale lavender. the background color is a lavender color as the pic shows and the orange/yellow is actually a bit brighter I think than what it shows.

Coming Next Month (end of June)

Just finished making a small batch of coconut oil-free soap last evening. At the request of several who have stated they have a sensitivity to coconut oil, I have replaced some oils to accomodate their sensitivities. The soap contains palm kernel oil instead, which is a much harder oil than coconut, the olive oil content is higher as a result, making this soap a very gentle soap for your skin.

I then played with it some more and added lavender, chamomile and bergamot to make it a heavenly fragrance.

NOT ONLY THAT, I also added some bentonite clay to give this soap just enough "slip" so that it will make a great shaving soap.

Still not quite satisfied, I went one step further and added a lovely artsitic little design on the top of the entire batch. I haven't taken a picture yet, but I'll post it when I do.

Have a coconut oil sensitivity? Want a fragrant shaving soap? Love artistry and color design? If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, then this soap is for you.

Stay tuned. More info coming later.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

To Wrap or Not to Wrap...

Handmade soaps can be so cotton pickin' beautiful, it is almost a shame to wrap them up.

Since I sell most of my soap online, I can at least show a picture of what my buyers are getting.

The next question is, when someone does buy it, should I wrap it in a lovely package or not?

As you can see from the pictures, I've tried a variety of different ways to wrap my soap, some pretty extensive and some a bit more simple, but I've found that this packaging can come with a price tag and I am beginning to feel the economic crunch of the times, not to mention the additional time it takes to individually wrap each of these babies.

I now have decided that special packaging may need to cost a bit extra. For all intents and purposes, unless my customer specifically requests gift packaging, I will be sending soaps wrapped in simple tissue or small paper bag with information inside as to soap name, ingredients, etc.

I'm just curious, how many out there really care whether their soaps are wrapped in pretty or unique packaging? Yes, it is an added touch, but is it worth it?

Until folks are willing to pay the price for routine packaging, I suspect I won't be adding that extra touch for now, much to my chagrin. It has been one more tough decision I've had to make to make things work in these times.

Here's to hoping that things will be on an upswing soon and we can all enjoy lovely packaging again as a given customer service.

Sheesh! I'm beginning to sound like a passenger airline service!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

El Tropical Azul

OK, so I am beginning to get the hang of this treasury thing :0
I have a new treasury on etsy now. Please check it out on

It is one way for me to introduce a new etsy site of mine.

For several months now, I have kept my old site on with my old name...Jabon.
Nice means "soap" in Spanish but I've found that there are a variety of other soap sites that use this also and I didn't wish to be confused with them. So, I chose the name Soapy Blessings by Trish.

However, my etsy site name could not be changed unless I chose a new site, so I am now in the process of doing just that.

I started my new site today and it is

I will still have until I get my new site established.

Please feel free to check out both. My new site hardly has a thing on it yet, but it will soon :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ode to Joy

This is the name of the etsy Treasury that I set up yesterday. Yes, it is the name of a hymn also, I know that. That's why it is called that. This is my first Treasury that I've been able to do, so I'm very excited about it.

There's a problem here though. I am assuming that everyone that reads this is a part of and many of aren't. I know that because I look at my stats and I know that many of you have probably never even heard of etsy. So, allow me to backtrack for just a moment and tell you what it is I'm talking about. is a shopping site for folks who want to shop for handmade, individual items of almost every sort, vintage items or craft supplies. It is a Crafters Mall kind of place, the largest arts and crafts fair ever. So, if you like arts and crafts fairs, etsy is the place for you.

Some people are shoppers on etsy, some people are shop owners on etsy, and some people are actually both on etsy. I'm a shopper and shop owner there.

Now, on to the Treasury part. A treasury is a grouping of items available on etsy that is chosen by an etsy member to be displayed on the Treasury site of etsy. The items can be anything on etsy, in any type of grouping. The grouping can have a theme, color scheme...whatever. As the treasury is placed, other etsians have the opportunity to look at your grouping, make comments, or purchase from the vendors that you have chosen. The treasury you have chosen lasts for 3 days, then allows room for other treasuries to open up.

The hard part is actually finding an opening to get a treasury in there in the first place. There are literally hundreds of etsians looking for an opening...kind of like finding a parking place for the biggest sale in town on Christmas eve...or the day after Thanksgiving. I sat at the computer and calculated how long it would take for the next treasury spot to open up, based on how many minutes or hours left on the older treasuries there were. Then, I set my timer to about 30 minutes before that calculated time just to make sure I didn't muff up.

It was a good thing I did that too. Apparently, I did some miscalculation because when the timer went off, I was at the computer, staring at the treasury section, my finger on my mouse, ready to click when the time was right. I only had to wait 10 minutes before an opening popped up. When it did, I clicked my mouse at the spot so hard, the mouse almost flew out of my hand! I guess I didn't realize how much anticipation I was in until then. I opened up another window to etsy and began to transfer the information on the items I wanted in my treasury, finished it and then proudly watched my treasury being viewed by dozens of people.

Now, it was time to start notifying the shop owners that I had put them in a treasury. Usually, they like to know that sort of thing. So, I began to e mail them. Then, I e mailed or sent bulletins on my social web sites to let people know that they should come and look at my treasury.

When my treasury started, it was page 27 of the treasury (the least looked at and clicked on). I watched most of the evening as my treasury slowly made its way through the ranks and finally hit page 6 by bedtime.

This morning, I looked again and low and behold, it is now on page 4. Wow! My treasury is a hot mama in the world of treasuries!

OK, so what is so great about a treasury? First off, lots of people see you as the maker of the treasury, so you get some exposure. You link up with other shop owners in the process of choosing them for your treasury, so you get some networking exposure too. It is basically a win win scenario.

Can't wait to find another treasury opening now. I'm hooked!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Treasury on

I was finally able to post a treasury on
Some of the stores and folks are from Ruebee and also from Castteam.
Check it out at this link

I was able to post a treasury on
Check out some beautiful items on it and click on some of them to see some great shops from wonderful people

Rain, Rain, Go Away...

I live in the Northwest, not far from the Pacific Ocean. It rains here.


Don't get me wrong; I like moderation.

There doesn't seem to be a rain in moderation around here though.
We just have it most of the time from October through...well, it is May and it's still raining.

I think I might have an idea of how Noah felt when it rained 40 days and 40 nights.
The difference about the rain here is that it doesn't generally come down in buckets. More often than not it is a gentle, misty kind of rain spread out through the year.

There is less rain in the summer and there can be some beautiful sunny days here. When the days are sunny, people here really relish it in a way that can only appreciated if you live in a rainy climate. People just come out into the sun and look around with a dumbfounded look on their faces.

I'm ready to be dumbfounded for a few days.

Come on out, sun...clouds go away. Give me a sunny, sunny day...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

It Washes White as Snow!!!

These soaps (Yes...they are soaps) remind me of an old song we occasionally sing in church. The words go something like this...

Oh, the blood of Jesus
Oh, the blood of Jesus
Oh, the blood of Jesus
It washes white as snow...

Bright and catchy, these soaps will catch anyone's attention, don't you think? I added fragrances of lavender mixed with green garden and kentish rain. The result? A really fresh smelling lavender soap, like walking in a garden after the rain and smelling the lavender. The dark blue in the pic is truly a very dark blue with a light blue background.

These were done using a melt and pour method of soap making.

These soaps will be posted online at both of my shops at and at

Monday, May 5, 2008

When Good Opossums Go Bad!!!

The photo above is a opossum...not the opossum that I am writing about, however.
THAT opossum is usually too clever to be caught out in the open.
However, he (or I suspect, a she) was caught off guard a few mornings ago.

My daughter was walking to her friend's house before school the other morning, which is only a few blocks away. It was about 6:30am and she was only one house away when she saw a opossum come out from a very large evergreen tree in the neighbor's yard. She is not normally afraid of opossums, but THIS particular opossum decided it didn't like my daughter right from the get go.

It growled in a nasally, high-pitched squeak/growl, mouth wide open, and came toward her. To make matters worse, as it came near her, it leaped into the air toward her.

Frightened out of her wits, my daughter let out a blood-curdling scream that received no response from either sleeping or deaf neighbors. Her automatic response to this leaping, snarling ball of fur was to give it a swift kick as it was in mid-air.

The opossum was caught mid chest and fell to the ground rolling backward while my daughter stood her ground (shaking). The opossum got back up on its feet and walked away from her across the street to the other side, looking back at her while walking, snarling/growling/squeaking at her the entire time.

Shaking and in tears, she continued on to her friend's house and recounted her terrifying tale. Both she and her friend concluded that they didn't like opossums from this day forward.

Prior to this encounter, my daughter, an avid animal lover, loved all living things, including the odd, furry, rat-faced, rat-tailed looking opossums. Not wishing for the entire population of opossoms to be forever on her "hit" list of things she hated just because of one, I explained that there was probably a good reason that this opossum acted the way it did. Perhaps it was a mother and felt that my daughter threatened her babies in some way.

My daughter shrugged and stated that this particular opossum "looked old, and messed up a bit, like it had been run over by a car a few times..."

Suddenly, this opossum was taking on a persona in my daughter's mind as possessed, crotchety, hateful, possibly demented or "Cujo-like".

Well, Cujo the Opossum hasn't reared its ugly head since that day...but neighbors beware! She could strike again!

I say, give Cujo a break, let her raise her kids in peace and give her wide berth next time around.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

A Table Full of Soaps

So, what happens now that my table is full? This picture shows a variety of my handmade soaps that are currently in various stages of the process of "curing" and my table is full.

Soap is a funny thing. The first time I had even considered that soap wasn't something that you just buy at the grocery store was when I was a kid, watching a re-run of the TV show, "The Beverly Hillbillys".

If you've never seen this show, was a top sitcom back in the 1960s where a poor hillbilly, Jed Clampett finds oil and becomes suddenly rich beyond his wildest dreams. He decides to move his family to Beverly Hills and live in a gorgeous mansion, but he and his family can't seem to get the hang of living in Beverly Hills and fitting in with the crowd there. They still hang on to their old habits, creating a rather funny, silly comedy show. OK, OK...I am digressing just a bit here.

Now, about the soap part. In the one particular episode I am referring to, Granny (I can't remember what they called her in the show, it's been so long) is "out back, cookin' up some soap." She is dressed in goggles, a large apron, gloves up to her elbows and stirring a huge pot of steaming stuff. Like I said, I was a kid at the time when I saw it and considered this to be just another wild exaggeration that was notorious for that show anyway and didn't give it a second thought...until I learned how to make soap.

It actually was truer than I realized. My family know that I'm up something when I get out my huge pot, stirring tools, oils, water and sodium hydroxide...aka lye (can't make soap without it), put on my apron, don my forearm length Playtex gloves and set my safety glasses in place. My family realizes that I am now in "mad scientist" mode and back away. Such is the process of making soap.

All the soaps you see above were made using this humble process similar to the Beverly Hillbillies. Of course, I'm not "out back" necesarily, but I am in a room that is well ventilated so I am not overcome with the fumes created by the reaction of sodium hydroxide and water mix. All soaps start out this way, but can end up into lovely scented artsy creations you see above with just a little work.

Next time you go to an arts and crafts fair or see "handmade soap" for sale online for $4.00 for one bar, remember what it took for that soap to get like that. It is hard work, individuality, creativity and a whole lot of love for the craft. It is well worth the money compared to mass-produced store items full of unpronounceable ingredients that leave your skin itchy. They give soap a bad name...and don't think for one moment that liquid soap is any more pure or better. Often it has more chemicals in it than the bar stuff.

Just in case you are wondering what kind of soaps those are in the picture, the light ones in upper left are Pomegranite with a little designer artwork on it, upper right is also Pomegranite fragrance but has apricot seed powder on the darker side and smooth on the lighter side. Lower left (green) is a naturally scented bug repellent soap...has a minty, menthol-like natural fragrance from the essentials oils added to it. The lower right are Pink Grapefruit scented soaps.

Now, my table is full of soaps, why don't I just wrap them up and pile them away? Here's why...once you have finished "cookin'" your soaps, they aren't ready to be used yet. They have "set awhile" and cure for several weeks. During this cure time, the sodium hydroxide is still reacting to the oils and a chemical reaction is ocurring that turns soap into soap. They slowly harden up and become gentle on your skin. Right now, though they look lovely, they would probably be quite irritating on your skin.

Once the soap hardens up, you can wrap them in "breathable" packaging. I tend to wrap them in tissue with a little ingredient tag inside the tissue for regular orders. I also use special wrapping for those who are buying but want to give them away as gifts. I use special handmade paper and raffia ties, or corrugated cardboard with raffia for those occasions...never plastic or shrink wrap for these guys. Melt and Pour method soap is different and great for shrink wrap, but not these soaps.

Come tour my soaps sometime if your on Flickr!