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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sweet lil tomatoes

At the Martinez Farmers Market today, we were in a different location due to an event on Main Street. It was a "Run for Education" and they raised over $60K for local schools, very impressive! Way to go Martinez, you know how to nurture your peeps! Anyhow, while that was going on, we were on Castro Street and many of us were next to vendors that we aren't usually close to. So a couple tents down, was this vendor that had some gorgeous heirloom tomatoes and some melons as well. What really struck me was, the way they would tenderly pick up each sweet tomato, with such gentle care. I was thinking those tomatoes has to feel the love and so I had to tell the lady from Blondie's Farm that their tender care was showing. She replied that the tomatoes were grown from seed and she watched each one of them pop their little heads up as they were growing. It was just so sweet! That's the cool thing about the farmers market, where else will you have an interaction like that? Aren't they gorgeous?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Fun with Graphics

So the label for Rosemary Mint was long over-due for a face-lift so I finally got it done! The back ground graphic came from an Etsy shop and the writing came from a cool site called PicMonkey. If you haven't had a chance to play around with that yet, have at it! It's a free site but there is an option where you pay a small amount for access to more fonts etc( ) Anyhooo, here's the new label, what do you think?

Monday, August 11, 2014

A fun new way to use our Mini Soaps

We've had this happen a few times now, so created a listing in our Etsy shop to offer you personalized shower favors! ( its only fitting that they should be SHOWER favors, get it?!). With this listing we are able to personalize the label for you so that it's perfect for your event! We can do a different quantity for you too! Let us know if there's anything special we can do for you!

Monday, August 4, 2014


We've been offering Trios of amazing Handmade soap in our Etsy shop lately, because, ya know, sometimes 2 isn't enough and 4 are too many! The latest one features Vibrant Lemongrass (Made with REAL lemongrass essential oil!), Bella Rose ( our gorgeous blend of Lavender and vintage rose with beautiful swirls of color and creamy Shea Butter ) and our amazing Almond Oatmeal, ( with sweet almond oil for extra moisture and finely ground oatmeal for gentle exfoliation). Folks love to send these as gifts too, let us know and we'll enclose a gift card.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Fourth of July

We always enjoy the parade thrown by our home town, Antioch. The parade this year was pretty cool, bigger than usual and had a nice turnout too. Below are my favorites:
And this one, is your Bonus Jonas, it's a picture of my Studio helpers! ( no their eyes don't really glow like that! )

Monday, June 23, 2014

A tale of two companies

I met a lady at Market the other day, who has such different goals for her company than I do ( not that there's anything wrong with that! ) Her goals are to do more wholesale and to have employees do the Markets for her rather than doing them personally. She is involved very little in the production of the product, has it "co-packed". ( that's where you hire a company and give them your recipe and the ingredients and they complete the manufacturing process ) I know it's the way most companies are run. Bigger is the idea. Running a small "indie" business is so different. The focus is on handmade, passion, the pure enjoyment of designing a batch and then putting the beautiful soap togeher, pouring the fragrant soap into it's wooden molds, the way it's been done for centuries. My goal has never been to get rich ( good thing! ) but rather to make a living doing what I love, and to have a wonderful creative outlet too. I love to design/create, I always have. I love that I have made so many friends along the way, you guys! I love that I get to see the new baby goats every season, they are SO sweet.
It's hard work at times, that's where the passion comes in. Debbie Allen of Fame said " You can't work as hard as I do if you aren't passionate, if you don't love it" and I so agree with her. Its not about getting bigger, or rich, it's about the passion for doing what I love to do. So there's your tale of two cpmpanies!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Secret Feather Swirl - Pride Feather

I love the way this came out, wasn't sure if it would, I don't usually work with as many as 7 colors. I wish the violet would have stayed violet rather than gray, but I'm pretty happy with the result for a first attempt. It's called a "Secret Feather Swirl" and my feather is in support of my many friends, showing some PRIDE here! Here's what I did to "customize" the mold, cut some dividers from a gently used postage box (gotta re-use!)
Then there's the 7 colors, these were added to the "batter" at the right time, man what a mess this was!
And at last, the result
I think I would do this again, but maybe do a couple less colors, it wanted to set up really fast despite the fact that I used my well-behaving Sundance scent. To my soaper friends, do give this a try, it's fun! (but messy!)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Small Business

I was thinking about this the other day, how with small business, or micro biz in my case, you really get so much of the personality of the biz owner, throughout the business. For expample, I am an animal lover, a former Registered Veterinary Technician. And so we would NEVER think of using animals fats in our soap. ( Most commercially made soap is made with cow fat, it's on the label as "Sodium Tallowate" ) I love that with small business you are much more likely to get to know the folks that run the business. In my case, I have so many customers that have become friends over the years, when I talk about you guys, I never know if I should say "a customer" or "one of my friends". It really does make a difference supporting local, and supporting small business. You'll still find a personal touch, isn't that so much better?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

More Texture

You guys know, a photographer, I'm not, but here are a couple more pix of textured tops. This one was from a silicone mat that is supposed to be used for wedding cakes, I love the intricate detail. I then brushed the top with some mica to make the details stand out more.
The next one was inspired by an awesome soaper out of Africa, she does the most gorgeous work! Anyhow, some of her work inspired this one. I bent a wire into a heart shape, dipped it in mica and then when the soap was the right consistency, gently dipped the wire, and it left these sweet little raised pink hearts!
And last but not least, this pretty top that was simply mica in olive oil and gently swirled when the soap was just poured.
I've been having a lot of fun playing with textured tops, not done yet!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

few changes

I have a couple of soaps that are not performing up to my expectations so they will be getting discontinued, so fair warning for lovers of Luna, Eucalyptus Mint and Hoopla. The good news is that I will now have room for Bella Rose, which has been a Limited Edition a couple of times and you guys love that one, so you'll be delighted to see it soon! It's a blend of Rose and Lavender with a pretty swirl of color. Changes, gotta make 'em, but it's a good thing!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

McCauley Display

I just delivered some soap to McCauley Olive Oil and this is the display they are using for our soap now. I love that it's so easy to see all the different kinds of soap and they're really easy to grab, it's very colorful and I love that it's so close to the checkout area too! Isn't it cute?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Meeting a new "soap sister"

One of the things I love best, about what I do for a living is the people involved in this way of life. From the crazy vendors I work with (we are really group of traveling gypsies! But we are also family) to the customers that become friends over the years, to the other people that are also soapmakers. The thing that I always think is so cool is that, by and large, it's more of a sisterhood/brotherhood, than a cut-throat type of existence. We will often share sources, or go in on supplies together to get the best price, and most of all, we are there for one another through the successes and failures. There are truly no real failures, because everything is a learning experience, so you still get to take something away. So today was great fun because I got to meet a new soap-sister! (Hey "C"). She's at the begining of the journey and I am so excited for the road ahead. I know she'll have so much fun discovering new techniques, favorite scent blends, suppliers and all the other good things that come with being a soapmaker. One of the things she'll get to decide, is if she wants to sell her soap online, venues like Etsy, Meylah or any of the others, there are so many out there. This leads to my hgelpful hint of the day. If you sell online, taking good, crisp pictures is imperative. Your customers can't touch or smell what they're looking at, so your pictures are all they have to go by. Here's a cool site that will help you edit your pictures. You can see from this picture, the background has been removed and it looks pretty cool! Another fun one is and you can do all sorts of neat stuff with that one! So after 14 years of doing this, I am still loving what I do, and loving that I can share information with my new "sister". Any of you that are thinking about making soap, DO IT! And welcome to the family!
Before Picture

Friday, February 21, 2014

New Labels

I love to design labels for the soap when I get some extra time. I am loving the new Murray label. I also did Red Clover Tea and Black tea and Rose, I love anything vintage and this is reflected in these labels. Murray is my fave though!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


So you guys know the way I make my Honey Shea Bars? The top looks like honey comb? I thought I'd do some other expiramenting and used some Texture Sheets and they came out pretty cool. The pictures are less than perfect as my camera didn't want to focus, but you can see the cool affect I achieved. All I did was cut the Texture sheets to fit the bottom of my mold and when the soap is done, the bottom is the top! I will be expiramenting with some other textures, fun to try new things! By the way, you can get your own texture sheets at clay/pottery type stores.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Newest Banner

It occured to me that the banner I am using doesn't mention the Soy Candles and just having it there can make a difference. People are funny, they don't want to get too close to see what you have, it's like they're commited or something, anyhow, this will draw the lovers of amazing fragrance over! I hope you can see all the detail. By the way I had it done at Fastsigns in Antioch and they were great!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

yeah you!

It's come to my attention that you havent told all your friends about handmade soap! Please let them know, it's fabulous for sensitive skin. A good place to start is the Murray Bar, named after me! Please do tell your friends!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Limited Edition

You guys know how I love to do a Limited Edition soap for you whenever I can, this time I had something fun to play with. One of my suppliers sent me some "day-glo orange" colorant. The funny thing is, just because it says it's orange, it doesn't mean it will be in the finished product, you just sort of cross your fingers and hold your breath! I did the scent in Almond and Orange, you guys really like that one so I did a nice large batch so it will be available for all my Markets starting January 19th (Sunday). So below are pix of the soap in the mold, just cut, and finished :-)
See how pink it looks?
In case you wanted to see it sideways :-)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Small Changes

I'm always looking for ways to make things easier and run more efficiently in the studio. I recently aquired this cool baker's rack and it will make inventory control for the lip butters so much easier. Prior to this, I had them on another shelf and they were higher up so it was harder to see how many lip butters were already made up. The shelf behind it by the way, with the cool design is the one I bought at the Jack of All Trades at Jack London Square the last time I did that event, you can never have too many shelves ya know! Small changes can make a big difference!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy 2014 and other musings

So Happy new year! I hope the new year is off to a good start for you! The holidays were super busy for me, as they are every year, I am STILL trying to catch up, but I am getting there. In the midst of all the craziness I was cutting 80# of soap and heard "ping" and only one thing that I know of makes that noise: the wire on my cutter snapping! So the last time I had it re-strung, no one around here would touch it, it's very daunting, and so I sent it back to Michigan where it was handmade to the tune of $30 for shipping! I looked at the site where I bought it and they no longer make that model, too hard to re-string! (it uses a long piece of guitar or piano wire). So my husband was asking how long I'd had that one and I said better than 10 years, and he said I was due a new one anyhow, so it's on order! The one I was going to get is called "the Tank" and almost $300, but I decided to see how hard it was to re-wire, not bad, although I found another that's even easier and is handmade like the original, we love handmade as you know! So until it comes, I hope you guys appreciate uneven soap slices, cutting them bar by bar is NOT my idea of fun! Here's the new one
I had been getting a lot of requests to make the Winter Dreams holiday soap a year round soap, so I did that for you, it's renamed Hoopla, here's the new label, isn't it pretty?
A new year always brings bright new possibilities. My focus for the new year is "Balance and streamlining" and so to that end I'll be only doing 10 feet of table rather than 12 feet most of the time, and I have discontinued the Mini's. Trying to mostly focus on the core products. As always I am going to try to make more time for fun stuff, you know, movies, books, general goofing off! I am going to really try to do a post every week too, we'll see how THAT goes! So, I hope you have a wonderful year, may you achieve all your goals!