Sunday, 15 December 2013

So this is Craft-mas

"So this is Craftmas, and what have you done?" (sung to the tune of War is Over)

Me:  Holy time flies Batman, it is that time of year isn't it? Well I did two craft shows and zero Christmas cards.

"Another year over, and a new one's just begun"

Me:  (sobbing quietly into my eggnog for all the unfinished projects).

Apologies to fans of the song, please don't send me hate mail, I promise not to do it again. Actually that's a lie, I'll try not to make bad jokes again.

So, the craft shows. You've all done them, you know the drill, so I'll skip to the good parts.

Okay, this isn't the good parts, it's my booth at MakeIt Vancouver. Oops, forgot to put away the step ladder.

Highlights of the shows:
  • selling some of some soaps I hadn't expected to sell off
  • seeing fellow crafters who I got to know from previous fairs

Best phrases from the shows:
  • "This is my daughter's favourite booth." Not bad for a venue with over 200 vendors
  • "This is fudge, not soap." A sign seen at the fudge booth.
Half a booth picture. By this time I got too lazy to put out as much stock.

Cool artists I met at the shows:
Rubina of Whisper Jewels with her oh so cool creations. Plus I finally remembered to take a picture of my neighbour.

And friends from before:
And my favourite crafter (because she's a fabulous person and she has me make her special soaps)
Hope you all had great success at your shows, and that you're finding time to be with friends and family this holiday season.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

If It's Tuesday, it must be…Beijing?

You'll have to pardon the absence of blog posting and reading all your wonderful blog posts, but we've been away.

Three weeks in China and Hong Kong with the family, what a whirlwind trip that was. It was fun, interesting, informative and exhausting. During that trip, I tried to follow Silvia of Soapjam's lead of looking for food stuffs to put into/onto my soaps. Unfortunately, I wasn't very successful. I kept getting distracted by things like this,


and of course this.

The only thing I managed to pick up soaping related, and it's only because I'm making it so, are some red packets. These days, red packets aren't necessarily just red anymore which makes them, as far as I'm concerned, more versatile. I think they make a very elegant sort of packaging for individual soaps.

I like this one for my dragon soaps

This is my surname, so people will know who made the soap. 

I know you all think outside the box, so what works for you when it comes to packaging your soaps?

Have a great rest of the week!

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Caffeine Fix

Our espresso machine is not working at the moment which is not a good thing. I know, First World problem, I wouldn't survive if I had to haul my own water to my house every day. I don't usually have coffee during the weekdays, but I do like my cup of java on the weekends. Hubby has been trying to make coffee by other means, including using the Bodum which I broke (doesn't filter too well) to just using a cheesecloth over a mason jar which leaves a mess to clean up.

One of the great things about the espresso machine is that the used coffee came out in little pucks, easy to toss into the compost, garden or what have you. I found they also dried out a lot faster if you wanted to use them in other ways, which I did.

I wanted to make a coffee soap. I liked the idea of re-using ingredients (and the coffee really doesn't taste so good being used a second time, but it does make for a nice, gentle exfoliant) and would also get rid of any fishy or other noxious smells on your hands.

I started by making a big bar for my own use, just to see how it'd turn out. I followed (sort of) the recipe from on how to make coffee soap. The soap turned out great, nothing fancy, but I scented it with hot cocoa fudge, so it smells fantastic and the coffee does give a very gentle scrub. It's working great in the kitchen.

MakeItVancouver, one of the craft shows I'm attending this year, is a sponsor of #dinnerpartyYVR. MakeIt asked for giveaways to give to the house chefs, so I thought, what would be better for foodies than something food related? This time though, I thought I'd go small and cute. Making these coffee soaps with a clear base gave it a darker, richer colour. The ones with a white base soap allowed the coffee to show through. This time, I scented the soaps with peppermint cocoa FO and it smells fabulous! There are 3 hearts per set, I hope the cooks will like them.

Do you like exfoliants in your soap, if so, what's the best type of exfoliant for you?

Sunday, 13 October 2013

I'm Grateful

Well it's Thanksgiving on Monday here in Canada, and normally I'd be rejoicing at an extra day off, this year it's just another day since I'm not working a regular 9 to 5 job.

That doesn't mean however, I'm not thankful for many things, so let me list them off in as them come to mind:

  1. all of you for reading my blog and laughing at my corny jokes
  2. the soaping community in general, for great advice and wonderful support 
  3. friends and family who support my endeavours to make this soaping hobby into a business
  4. still being able to keep those voices in my head from talking out loud, too often
And because it's fall, I had to make some fall type soaps right? Remember last week when I had made the moon from leftover soap? Well I had actually started by making leaves with that leftover soap. I thought I'd be clever and try and layer the leaves to create a more 3-D effect and rather than putting the leaves in neatly, I'd just kinda scatter them to the wind, so to speak, and then cut along the marked edges of where the soaps are supposed to be cut. These are some of the results.

These are scented with a chai tea FO, which is quite warm and pretty scent.

So to my Canadian friends, how are you celebrating Thanksgiving? And to my American friends, is the thought of Thanksgiving making you panic yet? ;)

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Good Night (Alondra) Moon

I'm sure if there were any Trekkies (and heaven forbid Trekkers) reading this post, they'd be yelling "Alondra has no moon, and certainly nothing that looks like that!" Well excuse me while I take some wide artistic license to make my moonscape soap.

In cleaning up and getting ready for upcoming fairs, I decided I really didn't like some of my soaps I'd made. So I chopped up one that was made of goat's milk coloured in green, and clear soap coloured pink, separated them out and mixed up the pink with some leftover brown-y coloured soap. Should be a strange combination right? I wanted them to mix, but not mix, so I sort of followed the instructions for swirling on Soapqueen, but rather than pour the colours on top of each other, I poured them side by side.

After I did that I had no freakin' idea what to do with it. I thought I'd cut out embeds, which I did, but they don't show the full swirly effects of the soaps. So I used a circle cutter and made a crescent shape with some of the leftovers. Have I mentioned I'm a leftover fanatic? I love leftovers when it comes to food, but I don't like having a lot of leftover soaps. So I took some leftover blue for the sky, and then put the crescent shape over top for a moon and sprinkled the whole thing with gold glitter for a starry effect. Oh and it's scented with creamsicle cybilla, so guess what you're getting Teresa? ;)

Another project that I found during cleanup is what I call my happy accident. I made alphabet soaps a while back using goat's milk and some lab colours and some of the colours from Soapylove's jewel set. The soaps have developed glycerin dew, which will have to be cleaned up (that's not the happy part) but the colours also melded into each other, creating a much prettier palette than I had originally done.

Hope everyone's had a great week and a wonderful weekend.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

I'm ready for my photoshop, Mr. De Spielberg

What's more fun than mixing metaphors? Mixing names. Yeah right. I need to find something a little more entertaining.

As Cee mentioned in her post a couple of weeks back, it's getting more difficult to take pictures with natural lighting now that it's become more scarce. Natural lighting in my house is iffy at the best of times, so I turn to my friend, Picasa.

I use Picasa to put more light on my pictures that the window just doesn't allow for, and to crop the pictures to focus on the soap which I'm not very good at with my little point and shoot.

Embeds, because it seemed like a good idea at the time.
There are lots of posts on how to make your own lightbox, which I need to do one of these days because those shadows are darned annoying.

The other soap I made this week was inspired by what I saw on Pinterest for men's soap. This one in particular made me go wow. Mine didn't turn out as well, and not just because it's not CP soap. Did you know you can actually have your soap so hot that it melts the plastic mould? I'm really overdue to get a thermometer.
But it smells good at least. Beau Brummel, one of my favourite scents.

And last but not least, I got another order for the alphabets. So I've gotten a good start on it, I think.

Stay dry (at least if you're on the west coast) and have a great week!

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Diamond in the rough

It's a good thing I have people who follow my blog. It pushes me to try something different each week and allows me to say I accomplished something rather than just sitting around watching tv all weekend.

Two weeks ago, I made some gemstone soaps, and in the comments, Anne-Marie said " I could see you doing so much with the gemstone soaps" which got me thinking. I remembered seeing a post on Otion's blog about making geodes and I wondered how I could use their idea and make it my own.

Good thing I started this experiment early in the week because it was not working the way I wanted. After some thought, and re-reading the post again, I decided on a variation of how they did their geodes. Also I wasn't wanting a geode per se, but rather to look like a gem was being mined. 

I melted clear soap and mixed in some black lustre mica (oooh shiny!) and dipped the gem soap into it. I thought it'd be like working with chocolate, where you have to get a thin layer on and keep building it up slowly. Eventually I worked it out that if I set the gem into the black soap, and let it partially set, it would come out in bigger chunks. In the second gem, I added some activated charcoal to give the "rock"more blackness.
Dipping the gemstone into liquid soap. Hard to have something to hang onto!
I have a friend who works in the Earth Science department, I think she might get a kick out of these. What fun things did you get up to this last week?

Finished "sapphire"-ish gemstone

My diamond in the rough

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Let them wash with cake

Maybe that's what Marie Antoinette was meant to have said.

I'm not normally big on sweets, but every so often I crave something decadent. Being that there's only two of us in this household, it doesn't make much sense to make a cake to feed 16 people (much as hubby would love to see that). To combat my sweets craving, I decided to try my hand at an opera cake, but in soap form.

For anyone who's unfamiliar with an opera cake, here's an example.
Photo from

I started it by pouring the layers into the mould (gotta love clear moulds) and then cutting it down so I could pour the "icing" over it after. This time I made sure to give each layer plenty of time to set before I poured the next one so that they wouldn't meld into one another.
Naked "opera cake" soap. Rated I for immature humour

I tried to make my "frosting" a bit darker by adding in some charcoal but it just made the colouring murky. So to compensate, I added more bakery beige colouring from Soapy Love's tart kit. Maybe next time I'll use straight clear soap rather than a mix of clear and white. The scent is rocky road fudge. 

After cutting it, it looks more like a Kit Kat bar to me, but opera cake sounds much more sophisticated.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Back to Basics

I was thinking that I should start each of my posts from now on with some random thought that's completely unrelated to soaping, but thank your lucky stars, I'm too darned lazy even though I'd formulated everything in my head already.

Seeing how last week's soaping experiment didn't go quite as planned, I thought I'd make something simpler this time, thinking it'd work so much better. Each time I try something new, it just reminds me that I gotta practice, practice practice.

My first set of soaps for this week went okay, but how can you go wrong with making single colour melt and pour?
Next time, more sparkles!

I wanted to use up some of the leftover soaps I have which is why I created this little project as well.

I was hoping for a clearer delineation between the colours, but otherwise, a perfectly useable soap.

What did you do for fun this weekend?

Saturday, 31 August 2013

The Half Baked Plans of Mice and Men

Oh wait, that's not the saying is it. I'm blaming it on Oil & Butter and Soapjam for their delicious looking soaps. And with a name like soapjam, how can I not be thinking of food all the time?

So in keeping with that theme, and the season, I thought I would make a late summer picnic soap. This was also due to seeing Brambleberry's email on embedding and who doesn't like embeds?

This was a great example of what works in theory doesn't necessarily work in real life. I thought I could cut up stripes, and layer them to make a picnic blanket look. Foreshadowing of things to come - my red soap didn't want to come out of the mould. No problem, I thought, I'll just pop out the white soap, cut it up into strips and place it on top of the red. That'll give the right look, right? Wrong.
Looking at the bottom of the soap
The supposed clear layer isn't as clear as it needs to be for the "blanket" to show up either. But the embed is cute, isn't it?

No problem, let's try it again. But this time, I'll make cut the red and white pieces the same sizes so that it can all fit back into the mould properly. That again is great in theory and would probably work, if the mould wasn't contoured ever so slightly. I squished the squares of soap in, working as fast as I could so the clear base wouldn't complete solidify before all the squares were in. It almost worked, but as you can see it's not a pretty finish.

And then, to add insult to injury, the clear soap wasn't clear at all. 

At that point, I gave up to go find a "life of the party" and I don't mean a soap making kit either.

Thinking about it later though, it's all a matter of advertising it right? I can market these "one of" soaps as haute savon and the rest that I've made several of, as laver a pret. Sounds better in a foreign language, doesn't it?

Tuesday, 27 August 2013


No, I'm not giving anything away, not yet anyway.

I had a very nice email asking if I'd blog about a giveaway to help launch a new book. The prize is a $75 gift basket from The Charming Frog full of soaps and other goodies. So if you're into winning stuff (and who isn't) check out Jessica Dotta's new book and her contest.

Good luck! 

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Cast offs

A friend of mine gave me a soap making kit. She had gotten it from her sister who didn't want it, and she thought I could use it since I made soaps. It's been sitting in the bottom cupboard for a long time now, but since the craft room has been moved, I want to focus on making good soaps. However, being my mother's daughter, I can't just toss anything or give away something someone has given me.

Have any of you tried a soap kit like this before?

Do you see what it says on the top left hand corner?

Honey, it ain't the life of the party unless there's a pitcher of margarita in that box, and much to my dismay, there wasn't.

It does come with all sorts of nifty things though: the mould, 3 bottles of FO (all unlabelled, but at least the write up tells you what they are), apricot seed, rose mica and a loofah.

I decided not to use the rose mica this time, instead using the colours I already had and just try out the basic colour and soap.

It's nice the soaps come with lines to help you cut same sized squares. Great for people like me who have trouble with cutting evenly.

Although it looks like white chocolate. Better get it used up before hubby thinks it is chocolate.
I made the first two just using the soap with some green colouring and scent. Then I thought I'd try to fill in the details in a different colour.
Maybe I should post the blue and reddish pink ones on craftfail.
The grooves aren't as deep as I'd like so the detailing sucks, to put it bluntly. Trying to get the soaps out of the mould was not easy either because the plastic mould is quite flimsy.

I was skimming TeachSoap the other day and someone had mentioned getting a soap making kit from Michael's was liable to turn anyone off of trying it again. I have to agree; this kit is okay, but it would not have made me want to continue. I'm grateful to my sister for having given me high quality materials to start with, so I wouldn't become discouraged right away.

Oh and for those who might not have seen my post on Twitter and Facebook, I got into both the craft fairs I had applied for. Very happy about that.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

I've moved

my craft room that is.

For months now, both my sister and my hubby have been telling me to move my craft room upstairs. I think they were tired of listening to me complain about the bad lighting in the basement, how cold it is down there, lack of space, etc. etc. But inertia and me, we're *this* close, so it took a long time to even think about it.

You all know how it is, how many people enjoy moving, even in your work cubicle? I doubt too many and when you have to move a ton of little bits and pieces, it's that much worse.

We started by buying bins to store all the made soaps. This is partly so I can transport them to craft fairs more efficiently (and less set up time) and also to try and reduce the glycerin dew that was taking place in the basement.

Large bins for holding gift box sets
Smaller bins for individual soaps

Then it was off to Costco to buy more racks and that was it. I had to move at that point. I'm definitely happier being in a brighter, more well lit room and having a room dedicated to my soaps and other crafts. I'm still in moving mode, so you'll have to pardon the mess. :)

First set of boxes moved in

Sunday, 11 August 2013

We'll return to our regularly scheduled program next week

I think we can all agree that weekends are just too short. If every weekend was a 3 day weekend, that would be ideal. 

Although it was a canning/baking weekend again, it didn't mean I wasn't thinking about soaping. Every time I saw air bubbles in my jam, I was tempted to grab my bottle of rubbing alcohol and spritz them. 

So what did you get up to these last couple of days? Hope you all had a lovely weekend.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Summertime and the canning is (not so) easy

Costco already has Christmas stuff on out display, can you believe it? I can't, and I refuse to think about Christmas, especially when we're having nice sunny weather.

I enjoy summers because of all the fresh fruits and veggies in season. I haven't done any canning in a few years, so this year I decided I would pick up some fruit and make some jam again.

I met a woman at work who has 5 acres and grows fruit in the organic manner. In other words, she is not certified, but she doesn't use sprays or pesticides. She had some lovely berries, so after I unloaded a good chunk of my wallet at her house, we came home with raspberries, blueberries and white currants.

Jam making is a lot like soap making. It takes patience, a sense of timing and one should always start with the lightest colour and work towards the darkest colour if one doesn't want to wash out the pot every time. :)

White currant jelly
White currant and raspberry jelly
White currant jelly on bottom, white currant and raspberry on top. Waste not, want not, right?

 White currant juice with Perrier
Mango blueberry jam

Last but not least some basil from her garden

Do you grow your own fruits and vegetables? Do you do any canning during the summer?

Sunday, 28 July 2013

I don't pretend to be Martha

But when I do, I try her easier recipes.

I don't know how I happened upon this recipe, but of course all things Martha Stewart look so gorgeous and so easy, so I thought, I can do this.

I had some orange zest in the fridge which I was going to use in either biscotti or soap. Seeing how I didn't have enough eggs for biscotti, it went in the soap instead.

I decided to add some dried lavender into the mix as well for some colour contrast and a nice smell. Plus, I'm not much for using it in cooking, so what better place for it to end up than in some soap.

The first of the two soaps I poured ended up with way more of the orange and lavender on the bottom of the soap.
I'll know next time to spoon the soap into the mold so that it gets more evenly distributed. However, this meant the second pour came out much better.

 I used Litsea EO, which is a citrusy scent, to complement the lavender. All in all, I'm quite pleased with how it turned out.

What's your favourite natural ingredient to use in embedding?