Saturday, December 26, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Posted by Trish's Soapy Blessings at 7:10 PM
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Quite simple actually.
You see my daughter, Amanda, is in choir at her high school. She's good...I mean, REALLY good. I know, I know; I'm Mom and I have to say those things, but SERIOUSLY...she has an amazing voice!
Good enough to be chosen for Washington Allstate Honor Choir. It will be in Yakima, WA. this year. It is a great achievement and honor.
It also costs money to attend; and the school is only paying for a small amount of it. The rest comes from whatever we can scrape up.
Being Christmas time and all, there isn't a whole lot left to scrape! I said to my daughter that she was going to have to come up with ideas for a fundraising for this. I made several suggestions, we clanked our heads together a few times and decided that since she loves animals and loves to cook, perhaps she could make and sell dog treats to help raise the money for the Allstate Honor Choir.
Now, she's made cookies, cakes and brownies, but this was her first try at dog treats. We searched for some recipes online, checked out what was in dog treats sold in the stores and came up with some recipes of our own.
We went out and purchased ingredients we didn't already have she started mixing, shaping, rolling, cutting and baking. The first batch, a peanut butter number, was finally finished. Now, came the time to do a taste test....
Amanda took a bite of the peanut butter treat. After all, it was made from ingredients we pretty much eat at home anyway. How bad could it be, right?
"Hey! Not bad for a dog treat," she announced.
"That's great, sweetheart," I replied, "but you may want to see if our DOGS actually like them."
She called each one of our three dogs over. Two of them are chihuahuas and the other is a sheltie, aussie shepherd mix. Each one eagerly grabbed a treat and clamored for more!
Since then, she has made Chicken and Cheese, Herbal Rice, and No Shedding Zone dog treats. Each one of them have been made without preservatives, so need to be either consumed within about three weeks time, or placed in the freezer. Each treat has also been officially tested by our three furry "taste-testers" and all pronounced delicious. Whenever, my daughter makes her way to the kitchen now, they all follow her with expectant eyes and drooling tongues!
All of her dog treats have been selling locally, but I thought it might be a great idea to place them online too. I've recently put her treats on aichihuahua.etsy.com to give her a larger audience and, hopefully, sell enough treats to pay for her trip a little sooner.
Who knows what will happen afterward if her treats are successful at selling? She may continue to make them afterward. For now, it's just taking everything one day at a time.
To see a few videos of her performing and of the choir she is in, please stop by at youtube.com/SoapyBlessings
Posted by Trish's Soapy Blessings at 1:26 PM
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Posted by Trish's Soapy Blessings at 8:55 AM
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
If you know anything about handmade soap, you may have run across this terminology before: cold process, hot process, melt and pour, hand milled...
You may not know what any of that means.
In case you ever wondered, this is the blog read for you.
Well, here is my attempt at briefly explaining what those things are and how they differ from one another.
Let's start with just your basic melt and pour. This is a method of soap making where you purchasing a pre-made soap product. You melt it down, add some color and frgrance to it and mold it to your preference. Sound easy? It is, although there are a few things that you need to know in order for your soap to be successful. Melt and pour method does not require you adding any ingredients that may be dangerous around kids and animals, or to yourself. It really is a fun, clean craft. Easy wash up since it IS soap.
I started off making melt and pour soaps. I still make them on occasion, although that method is not the bulk of my soap making.
Next is the cold process soap method. This requires that your make your own soap formula from various oils, liquid and sodium hydroxide (lye). There are tons and bunches of soap recipes online and in books. Each oil adds its own distinctiveness to the soap recipe. If your are a star trek fan, you may remember how "The Borg" assimilate other cultures to add to their own? Well, different oils are like that in soap. Palm oil helps to harden the soap, coconut oil gives the soap a nice lather, castor oil gives the soap a sudsy quality, olive oil is amazing on your skin but low on suds, and so on.
Just the right amount of liquid and lye mixed with the oils, and mixed together until the soap begins to thicken just a bit, called "trace". Then you add any other colors, fragrances or exfoliants to the soap. In cold process, the lye mixed liquid and oils are mixed together at a cooler temperature. They are poured into molds and covered and insulated to allow the oils and lye mixture to heat up and "cook". The curing process takes a while before the soap is safe to use. I typically wait about four to six weeks before I will allow it to be sold.
If done right with a good recipe, you will get a great, smooth bar of soap at the end of that time. A few drawbacks in cold process is that some colors you may use, may look different when the soap is done, and some fragrance oils fail miserably during the curing process and you end up with a nice bar of soap that doesn't smell anything like you intended.
Posted by Trish's Soapy Blessings at 11:43 AM
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Posted by Trish's Soapy Blessings at 9:22 AM
Monday, November 16, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Each soap is a generous 4 oz plus size with just a small dusting of copper and gold cosmetic mica for added elegance.
"Who is this, coming up from the desert like a column of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense..."
Song of Solomon 3:6
Posted by Trish's Soapy Blessings at 8:23 AM
Monday, November 9, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Posted by Trish's Soapy Blessings at 6:07 AM
Monday, November 2, 2009
Donald MacKinnon is the Candle Guy and sells his amazing candles on Artfire.com. I chose to feature him due to his unique history and how he came to be making candles.
He is a retired principle engineer and a Vietnam Veteran. While in Vietnam he was assigned to the 170th Assault Helicopter Company, where he served as crew chief on a "huey". In the picture below, that is Donald on the far left.
After retiring and moving to Florida, he became extremely ill resulting in a permanent disability. Because of Agent Orange exposure while in Vietnam, he suffers from chronic pain due to Peripheral Neuropathy and a host of other problems. Candle making has allowed him a distraction, enabling him to manage his pain issues more effectively.
His candle making began in 2004 making some hand-dipped tappers, which he sold at a local farm. From there, he moved to his first online venue, Ebay. He eventually moved from Ebay to Etsy, then to Artfire.com as his main selling venue.
He uses the 3 inch diameter X 4 1/2 inches tall pillar candle as his flagship product because he feels this size candle gives the customer the most product for their dollar. It is a good size for shipment using the priority mail 2-3 day system offered by the United States Postal Service.
Another extremely important detail is that Donald has a special deal for ALL 170 th Assault Helicopter Company Vietnam Vets. If any of these vets purchase 6 candles of the 3 in dia. X 4.5 inches tall variety, he will pay the shipping. This deal will last forever because they are family.
He has an outdoor studio where he works most days on his candles. From this vantage point, he is entertained by the local feathered residents of his neighborhood while he works. Perhaps some of their beautiful colors has inspired some of his beautiful designs. His store "Candles by Donald" is open all the time, and is easy to get to at http://www.candleguy821.artfire.com
Stop by Donald's shop site, grab a cup of tea or coffee and explore his delightful candles. You won't disappointed.
Posted by Trish's Soapy Blessings at 7:26 PM
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Posted by Trish's Soapy Blessings at 8:49 PM
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Posted by Trish's Soapy Blessings at 4:10 PM
Sunday, October 18, 2009
This reversible snuggle bag for small dogs that measures 25" x 23" and has a soft fleece with a cute puppy pattern on it on one side and a soft denim on the reverse side. It can also be used to pad a crate or use as a cushion on furniture or floor.
Great for the burrowing dogs like the doxies, or chihuahuas (My chis would LOVE this!) The fleece is cuffed over the denim and sewn. All seams are double stitched. The corners are tacked down so the layers will stay together.
This adorable item can be found on Critters and Crafts etsy site at:
Check this and many of her other adorable items!
Posted by Trish's Soapy Blessings at 3:54 PM
Saturday, October 17, 2009
A few weeks a go I was on a soap making binge! I made about eight different batches of soap in less than a week and still had ideas cooking in my head.
Problem was, I ran out of ingredients! Most of the time I can make a substitution or two and not sacrifice soap quality, but this time it was different. I ran out of sodium hydroxide (Lye), which is the ingredient that makes soap what it is...SOAP! Without it, there is no chemical reaction of the oils mixed with it that hardens it into a viable bar of soap and has great cleansing action.
This is not an ingredient you can just hop over to the store and buy. They don't sell it craft stores. It is definitely a specialty item that requires special care in handling.
So, here was my problem. I was busy making my next, and last batch of soap, although I didn't know it at the time. I had my oils ready, I had my colors ready, my fragrance oil ready, had my liquid ready (in this case, it was wine). I had donned my apron, my gloves and my mask and my tools were out and ready to go. I carefully measured my sodium hydroxide out....and there was only half as much as what I needed!
This stuff has to be measured out according to the content of the oils and I didn't have near enough!
Not to be thwarted by a small (?) planning glitch, I quickly re-evaluated how much soap I COULD make with that amount of sodium hydroxide. A few more minutes and I was on my way again, only making less than half of a batch. I had to revamp my soap mold to create a smaller version too! I typically used an antique countertop drawer lined with wax paper. It has wooden dividers in it to make smaller molds. I was already using a smaller mold and the only way I could make it even tinier was to create another temporary divider. I quickly grabbed a thick piece of cardboard, cut it to fit the loaf mold, placed it inside the mold and relined it with wax paper. I used the leftover bottle of wine to hold the cardboard more securely in place by placing it inside the mold just behind the cardboard.
Voila! It was a REALLY tiny loaf mold! I made the soap, poured it in the mold, realizing that it was going to be pretty small in height, even with the cardboard adjustment. I'd worry about that later.
When it came time to unmold the soap and cut it, I knew I had to do something to compensate for the smallness of the soap. I ended up cutting the loaf into small guest sized (1 to 1.5 oz each) bars, and wrapped them in cute organza bags.
There you have it! The creation of my guest sized BERRY WINE soaps!
Fun little soaps wrapped in organza with the decadent fragrance of berry wine!
This soap is made using real wine to provide your skin with all the ingredients that wine contains. (Yes, there are ingredients in wine that your skin LOVES!)
This is a hot process method soap which means that the fragrance usually doesn't change as the soap cures. This scent smells just like a heavenly Merlot sweetened by Raspberry, Blueberry and just a hint of Blackberry. This fragrance is a great scent in the fall, when the leaves turn their gorgeous shades of red, orange and yellow.
I put a lot of innovative ad-libness to this batch!
Hope you enjoy!
Posted by Trish's Soapy Blessings at 1:11 PM
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
The bigger companies are noticing that "natural" soap is an increasing popular item and are capitalizing on it and producing their own versions.
I actually was unaware of that since I make my own soap and really don't pay much attention to what the commercial guys are up to.
That was a mistake. I should've been paying more attention.
Strolling through my local grocery store today, I happened to find myself in the "soap" section. I was totally amazed at the amount of "natural" and "designer" soaps that the BIG companies are producing now. Less than a year ago, I happened down that same section and took a look and there was barely a bar of soap to be found! Everything was liquid body washes and such. There were only a few of the very basic soaps that most are familiar with...and that was all there was.
Now, there are all these claims to "glycerine" soaps, "natural" soaps, special fragrances in the soaps and all kinds of designer scents. I was completely floored!
Curious, I picked up one of the "natural" soaps and read the ingredients. Floored again, I couldn't believe was I was seeing for their "natural" ingredients. Very vague wording, it all sounded good to the lay person who doesn't know about soap ingredients, but I wasn't fooled a bit! Some of the soap ingredients didn't even label the botanical names of anything, which I thought was a labeling requirement! I label all my ingredients on my soaps in both common and botanical names, why do they get away without doing that?
Maybe because it wasn't "natural" after all.
Most of the "designer" soaps were nothing more than a waxy cube of detergent with a couple of natural additives and fragrance!
Well, the price was good anyway! They were charging at least 1/3 of what I can charge for a bar of soap. If I could charge that much and make a living at it, I most certainly would! But, because I really do make soap the way it was intended to be made, I can't do that.
Don't be fooled by the bargain price. It isn't such a bargain, and you aren't getting what you probably think you're getting. It's all in the wording and clever advertising.
Clever advertising...I guess I need to work on that! Clever, yes, but not misleading...where does one draw the line? Nope, I don't do well at misleading! I want my customers to be totally in the know about what they are purchasing.
Maybe that's why I won't make millions at this, but at least I've maintained my integrity.
And that's OK.
Posted by Trish's Soapy Blessings at 6:29 PM
Sunday, October 4, 2009
It was so nice for me to get away for a few weeks a few months ago...first time in years, yes, years! Now, I'm back into "the routine" again and slowly the "must dos" and "ought to dos" are building back up again.
The Lord designated a day of rest, probably realizing that life's little battles overcome the best of us sometimes and we need a break. It's up to us whether we decide to take heed to God's suggestion (used to be a commandment to the Israelites) that's how important it was.
Now, I work full time at very stressful job, so that takes lots of hours out of my time where I could be doing other things, like making soap, cleaning my house, fixing meals, and spending quality time with my family.
I've broken it down into hours designated to what I do, more or less:
1 week =7 days, which there are 24 hours in a day
7X24= 168 hours in a week! Whoo hoo! That sounds like a lot, doesn't it?
I work 36 hours of it, plus lunch break (.5 hrs) plus the hour commute both ways
168-37.5= 130.5 hours left in my week! Not bad, or so it seems.
My time at home, let's say just doing the bare minimum basics of "domestic management" such as housecleaning, preparing meals, washing clothes and outside chores...and I'm talking BARE minimum per week, are around 12 hours per week.
130.5-12= 118.5 hours left. Well, OK, still doesn't sound too bad, does it?
Oh, now I have to talk about spending time with my family. I've got a hubby and 2 teenagers still living at home. I honestly think teens take more time than toddlers! Just in different ways! (Guitar lessons, voice lessons, shopping for "just the right" clothes that mom will approve of), shuttling to friends and back, school games, dances, get-togethers, parties, competitions, school shopping, Dr. and dentist appointments, take daughter to driving lessons, help her find a job. The list goes on and on and on. My hubby work opposite shifts, so we try very hard to spend at least a few hours during our work week with each other, and have at least ONE day off together every other week. Try to break this down into hours per week, I'd have to average about another 10 hours per week...and that is probably a bit short.
118.5-10= 108.5 OK, I'm still over 100 hours per week. Still sounds good, right?
Wait a minute! I have SLEEP sometime during all this! I SHOULD give myself 8 hours of sleep every night, although I seldom actually sleep 8 hours! Well, just to be healthy, I'm giving myself that time anyway, in case I do!
8 hours of sleep every night is 56 hours per week.
108.5-56= 52.5 hours Uh-oh, this is starting to sound like a time crunch!
One recent thing that I've begun for my own health and sanity is to workout in a gym at least 3 times a week. That usually takes 2-3 hours each time, given the getting dressed,driving, warming up, working out, cooling down, showering, getting dressed and coming back home again. I'm giving myself 9 hours a week for this.
52.5-9=43.5 hours Hmmm...
I'm a devout Christian and spend time reading and studying the Bible, going to church etc. I'd like to spend more time, but given my circumstances, it doesn't seem to be happening. I will average probably about 6 hours per week in these endeavors.
43.5-6=37.5 hours It is really starting to dwindle.
Oh, that's right! I run a business too! Making soap if you haven't already figured that out. I generally spend one entire day every week devoted to my business, about a 10 hour day, plus little snippets during the rest of the week that probably amount to another 10 hours, just making soap, wrapping soap, cutting soap, unpacking soap supplies, re-stocking, printing labels, making supply lists, preparing for craft fairs etc, preparing soap for shipment, and shipping them, taking pictures. That equals about 20 hours per week.
37.5-20=17.5 hours YIKES!
What I mentioned about the soap DOESN'T include my time promoting online or many of my other online things I do that are related to my soap, such as listing my soaps online, coming up with the perfect description of my soap, editing pictures, twittering, facebooking, and all the other online, soap-related things I do. I typically spend 2 hours per day doing those things, which is a pretty conservative number, if you ask my kids and hubby.
That's 14 hours per week...
OK, I now have 3.5 hours per week left over to do whatever I feel like! Almost like heaven!
Uh-oh, the dog just threw up on my carpet. I forgot that I have a dentist appointment this week! The dishwasher just broke. My computer is acting goofy and won't upload my pictures. I ran out of milk and need to make another trip to the store for groceries that I didn't intend to do. I THOUGHT I had enough material for soap packaging, but apparently didn't, so now have to make an emergency trip to JoAnnes for a small supply until my order comes in....
There goes my 3.5 hours!!!!!
Posted by Trish's Soapy Blessings at 4:00 PM
Thursday, October 1, 2009
This soap smells like a fresh apple after biting into it. Delightful! Leaves your skin feeling soft and supple after using. All the glycerin has been retained to give your skin extra love.
I used coconut oil for suds, palm oil for hardness of the bar, castor oil because it gives great lather quality to the bar, shea butter and avocado oils for extra love for your skin.
Each bar is hand-cut, approximately 3-4 oz each. No two are exactly alike. Although it is somewhat round on purpose, I decided NOT to add a little worm coming out the side. A soapy stem on top might've been fun though.
"Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings" Psalms 17:8
Posted by Trish's Soapy Blessings at 11:25 AM
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
This is one of my recent listings that I've placed on etsy and will be placing at some of my other shop sites shortly.
Published studies have shown that Pumpkin Pie is the number 1 fragrance that gets a man's attention.
I always knew there was something more to that old saying, "A way to a man's heart is through his stomach."
This delightful soap really does smell like pumpkin pie. This listing is for one soap, approximately 4.25-4.75 oz each, a nice generous sized bar of soap.
Stock up on this one...it will go fast!
"While the king was at his table, my perfume spread its fragrance." Song of Solomon 1:12
Thursday, September 24, 2009
So...you wants guys to THINK you've lost some weight? Try aromatherapy!
Amazing things happen to the brain when whiffs of certain things get to the brain and start hanging out with those brain chemicals. Perceived weight loss, male attraction, feelings of well-being, just to name a few things.
According to Dr. Alan Hirsch MD and his studies, there is a perception of weight loss when men smell certain odors! If a woman wore floral and spice fragrances, it apparently reduced men's perception of her weight by an average of 4.1 pounds! If the guy thought the floral and spice scent was pleasant, he perceived her to be a full 12 pounds less than her actual weight!
Next time you are out on a date with your hubby, boyfriend or new flame in your life, you may want to take advantage of this idea!
Gardenia is a lovely floral fragrance that I've just recently added in a group bath gift collection. Shower in gardenia soap and follow it up with gardenia fragrance balm that is handy to take with you in your purse too!
OR, bathe in a delightful gardenia fragrance emollient bath salt!
Monday, September 21, 2009
I just recently made this soap. It is made using real coconut milk instead of water. I added two different fragrance oils to it, coconut fragrance and orange. No added coloring was added to this soap. That is it's natural color. I made using the hot process method, hoping that the orange fragrance with withstand and hold out during the this process instead of the cold process method. Most orange fragrances do not stay well in cold process soap-making and in using the hot process method, I've had better success.
So, using coconut milk instead of water in the soap-making process, what happens? coconut does NOT stay its lovely creamy white when mixed with sodium hydroxide, a main, necessary ingredient when making soap. Instead, it turns a light brown and thickens up a bit. Coconut fragrance oil also turns the soap a beige color when added, so that is the reason for the orange-brown color to the soap.
Adding coconut milk gives the soap a different feel also, it seems to be a bit smoother, soapier, more lather, than if you don't add it. So, it definitely gives the soap some added benefits.
This soap has not been added to any of my online shops yet, but I will be doing that later this week. Stay tuned!
P.S. Have you voted on your favorite soap yet here on my blog?
Posted by Trish's Soapy Blessings at 5:46 AM
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
We are talking about a plant, not the blood of a real dragon, OK?
Actually, we are talking about several types of plants that has been called "Dragon's Blood" over the centuries. A more common one that has been naturalized here in the U.S. is Dracena Draco, also known as the dragon tree, is a vulnerable plant endemic to the arid, rocky mountain ranges of the Canary Islands, Madeira, and Cape Verde. This is the plant shown in the picture above. It is commonly cultivated as a houseplant and garden specimen, but there are very few naturally-occurring plants remaining in its narrow ecological range. The dark red sap of Dracaena draco was regarded for centuries in European legends as “the blood of dragons”, and was often used for its supposed magical and medicinal qualities. This resin is still used today to produce incense and varnishes used to stain and polish wood.
Much confusion existed in ancient times regarding the source and identity of dragon's blood. The resin of Dracaena species, "true" dragon's blood, and the very poisonous mineral cinnabar (mercury sulfide) were often confused by the Romans. Apparently, they had a tendency to call anything that was bright red "dragon's blood". In ancient China, very little distinction was made among the types of dragon's blood from the different species. Even today, both Dracaena and Daemonorops resins are still marketed today as dragon's blood.
Dragon's Blood was obtained as dried garnet-red drops from Dracaena draco, a tree native to the Canary Islands and Morocco by traders in the 15th century. a resin came from its wounded trunk or branches. Dragon's blood is also obtained by the same method from D. cinnabari, which grows on the island of Socotra. This resin was traded to ancient Europe via the Incense Road.
Dragon's blood resin is also produced from rattan palms in the Indonesian islands and is known there as jerang or djerang. It is harvested by breaking off the layer of red resin that surrounds the unripe fruit of the rattan. It is then rolled into solid balls before being sold.
Dragon's blood was used as a dye and in medicine for respiratory and gastrointestinal problems in the Mediterranean area. Many considered the resin as a sort of cure-all, using it for such things as general wound healing, a coagulant, diarrhea, fevers, dysentery, ulcers in the mouth, throat, intestines and stomach, as well as an antiviral for respiratory and stomach viruses, and eczema. It was also used in medieval ritual magic and alchemy.
The species of Dracaena draco and Dracaena cinnabari were also used as a source of varnish for 18th century Italian violinmakers and has been included in an 18th century recipe for toothpaste! Even today, it is still used as a varnish for violins, in photoengraving, as an incense resin, and as a body oil. It is still used for ceremonies in India. The Chinese use it to make red varnish for wooden furniture, coloring the surface of writing paper for banners and posters, for weddings and Chinese New Year.
In American Hoodoo, African-American folk magic, and New Orleans voodoo, it is used in mojo hands for money-drawing or love-drawing, and is used as incense to cleanse a space of negative entities or influences. It is also added to red ink to make "Dragon's Blood Ink", which is used to inscribe magical seals and talismans.
In folk medicine, dragon's blood is used externally as a wash to promote healing of wounds and to stop bleeding. It is used internally for chest pains, post-partum bleeding, internal traumas and menstrual irregularities. Many of the modern day plants that are harvested as Dragon's blood, however, contain anticoagulant properties and using it for stopping bleeding is not recommended.
In neo-pagan witchcraft and new age shamanism, it is used to increase the potency of spells for protection, love, banishing and sexuality.
It is also commonly distributed as "red rock opium" to unsuspecting would-be opium buyers, though it contains no opiates and has only been shown to have mildly intoxicating effects.
Now that you know a little history and current uses for Dragon's Blood.
Dragon's blood also comes as a fragrance oil, not really made from the dragon's blood plant but a nice facsimile of the incense that the resin produces. I use this dragon's blood fragrance oil in my soap and bath products for a unique, fragrant change of pace. Recently, I've made a batch of dragon's blood soap that will be ready for sale in the first half of October.
It smells great, no spells have been cast over it for protection, love, banishing, sexuality or any other neo-pagan/shaman spells. It doesn't contain any of the medicinal properties previously mentioned. It DOES contain what all my other soaps contain...soapy blessings. It's a great bar of great smelling handmade soap that doesn't dry out your skin too.
Interested in placing a reserve order of Dragon's Blood soap? Contact me at one of my shop sites! :)