Monday, June 27, 2011

Off on our Summer Holidays! But you can still order...

We're off with our buckets & spades on Friday 1 July so just a little notice to say that all orders received up to midnight on Wednesday 29 June will be posted out on Thursday 30 June & any orders received after midnight on 29 June will be sent out from Monday 18 July.  
The site will be open for ordering but I won't be able to check emails or orders til mid July.  We're going to a small country village for a while - there's no internet connection and no phone signal and just peace and quiet galore... just what we need. 
I cannot wait for holidays - we're going back to a place we love, a place we eventually want to move to; a place where we feel we can breathe clearly and freely... to us, it's just called Heaven.  
If you're interested in seeing it, this is where we're headed:
Aerial View
View from the top of the village

Our local & favourite pub & restaurant (sooo good!!!)

We'll be back in mid July and I hope raring to go because I'm sure the soaping urge will be VERY strong by the time I've returned.  Plus I'll have used up all those cute bath bombs I made!!  
It's only 82 hours til we're there!!! Not that I'm counting that is.... just 4,920 minutes.... nope, not counting the 295,200 seconds!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Pottermore - I LOVE Harry Potter

I have to admit I love love love Harry Potter - I've read every book and seen every movie, several times over.  I don't care if anyone thinks it odd that a 43 year old loves everything about this phenomenom, I just love it.  The last movie is out over here on 15 July and though I won't be able to see it on the opening day, I have already told my hubby we'll be seeing it the week after.. in 3D! Whooooo hooooooooo cannot wait!

In the meantime, I heard about Pottermore and have downloaded this video to show you .. I've already registered my interest. Harry Potter lives on!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bath Bomb ... just practising!

Any time I've ever tried to make bathbombs, they've turned into warty horrors.  Lots of people who make bath and body products make bath bombs, lots don't.  They don't because these things are more tempermental than a middle aged man going through the manopause!!! Seriously! Their success depends on whether you use an infintesimal amount of water more than you should or not or whether it's raining out or not (humidity can make your bombs go off!).  They can be a nightmare! But they're fun and I love using them in the bath.  And when I realised our holiday house has a bath, well I had to pay more attention to these, didn't I? I have to have at least one bath a day!

So, last night, I tried to make some and they turned out to be warty monsters... again! I was in a little bit of a bad mood afterwards (read .... cranky old mare) and was determined to try again tonight.  I used a two parts bicarb with 1 part citric acid mix with some Sweet Almond Oil and a little fragrance oil.  I found some colours I bought about two years ago and they're not great but will do for now.. I have ordered some powdered colours and hoping they arrive soon. 

These are tonights attempt - the front oval ones are Spiced Apple and the back, round ones are Pink Grapefruit.  I don't think they're TOO bad for an experiment.. do you?

I loved the star pattern on this mould I found on
ebay but the bomb is pretty huge!

Our collection from tonight - these are all
going on holidays with me! I think the white shows
the star off more than the speckled pink

This one is entitled "Titch" cos it's made by my honorary
daughter and that's her nickname

So, for those of you who do make bath bombs regularly, do you have any tips or hints for me? I didn't use water in this, just upped the oil level a tinch more which seemed to work well (better than the tons of water I added last night which made them warty horrors!). 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Fathers Day!

Well a big ol' Happy Fathers Day to all the Dad's out there - those who are lucky enough to be able to hold their babies in their arms (no matter how big or old those babies are these days) and those who can only hold their babies in their hearts today.  You are all Dads today and you should be celebrated.

Here's a pic of my Dad - Tony - he's an avid golfer and enjoys a cigar or two (or three, or four .. I won't go on!).  He loves Jameson Irish Whiskey and he's having a massive dinner of corned beef and cabbage tonight (yuck for me, but double yum for him!).  He's had some health issues recently but that's not stopping him from having two holidays this July, one of them in Salzburg.  He's travelled to all sorts of places from Thailand, Kuala Lumpar, Hong Kong and South Africa to Australia, Brazil, Austria, France, Greece and Turkey to name but a few.  He's a retired jeweller and has brought up 9 kids! He loves doing his daily crosswords and playing his keyboard and will hit the big 8-0 this November!

Happy Fathers Day Dad!!! Have a great one!!!

In a very sunny Turkey

In Turkey, pictured with my hubby, Malcolm

In Greece with two of his sons, Kieran & Peter (middle)

In Australia, with his sister Florence

In Greece with this youngest granddaughter, Holly

In Austria with one of his granddaughters, Anna

In South Africa on a golfing trip

Friday, June 17, 2011

More Big Thanks to Jo from The Soap Bar

More huge thanks to Jo from The Soap Bar (and Product Body) for her awesome mention of my Cashmere handmade silk soap on her recent blog post, Eye Candy Soap Friday

This is the image she choose (excellent choice, in my humblest of opinions!) and I'm so happy because it's one of my favourite pcitures too!

Cashmere - handmade silk soap

The soap is made from a blend of Sweet Almond Oil, Olive Oil, Avocado Oil, Coconut Oil, Palm Oil (from a sustainable source, of course) and some Castor Oil (for added bubbleification... what? That's a word, I'm sure of it!). As always, I've used pure Tussah (or Wild) Silk because I just love what it adds to the mix.

The fragrance is a stunner - one that lingers on the skin (my favourite type) and one that is sure to have people say "what is the fragrance you're wearing?" (it's happened to me!).  It's described as a blend of essences of Moroccan jasmine, lily of the valley and bergamot with warm undertones of sandalwood, amber and musk - it smells like a very top end perfume, not too floral with a warm basenote.  It is, possibly, one of my favourite fragrances to date.

If you are interested in purchasing a bar, this will be fully cured and on the site after 18 July (right after I get back from my holidays, yay!).

Thanks again Jo, I'm so chuffed to be mentioned and it's an honour to stand alongside the other incredible soapers' work.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Big Thanks to Ka Fée from Soap Session

A huge thanks to Ka Fée from Soap Session who mentioned my soaps in her round up of those incredible soapers from across the world who've tried out her inspired spoon swirl.  Her full blog post can be viewed here.

Some of the soaps pictured in the post include:

Adam & Eve (now available online)

Black Raspberry Vanilla (sold out even before it went online!)

And others I've made include:

 Lavender Lime Vetiver

 Lemongrass Verbena


Check out our website for further details at

Thanks so much Ka Fée, for your inspiration!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Another Soaper Competition - Product Body

Hi everyone - the lovely Jo from Product Body is running an incredible competition on her site and I thought you might like to know about it.  Check out this link for full instructions - you can get up to two entries to this competition for a $75 voucher for anything in her store! VERY generous!

She makes incredible soaps, scrubs, cremes and perfume oils - I soooooo want to try them all and I'm thinking Father Christmas might be coming all the way from the US with his presents this year!

Check out some of the beautiful things you could buy if you were lucky enough to win the $75 voucher!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Soaping Saturday ... and Monday!

This weekend was a Bank Holiday here and well needed for me as my full time job has been so exhausting lately.  The thing I most wanted to do this weekend was soap! I find it relaxing and therapeutic which is exactly what I needed after my hective last month. 

So, I'm going to treat you with pics of not one but two soaps! Both of these are remakes of other ones I've done but I wanted to design something new for them.  Both fragrances are particular favourites and I knew I wanted to use them both again so the plan was to make a re-do of Cashmere Silk & Lemongrass Verbena. 

Lemongrass Verbena:
The previous soap was pretty but it didn't turn out, design wise, the exact way I wanted.  Here is the original image:

It's a very nice soap and it smells amazing and it was soooo lovely on your skin but, looks wise, I wanted something else for it. 

I've developed a new soap recipe because I wanted to include more Sweet Almond Oil into my recipe because it's such a lovely skin loving oil.  So my new soap includes Sweet Almond Oil, Olive Oil & Avocado Oil with Cocoa Butter & Pure Silk ... an incredible combo for your skin.  I wanted to oooomph the fragrance up too so I included Lemongrass essential oil and May Chang essential oil (which is incredibly citrusy in a fizzy sort of a way) with Lemon Verbena fragrance oil.  It is now a zesty citrusy mega lemony ooooomph of a soap! I used the original colours again (because when you think Lemongrass, you do think yellow/green and white don't you?).  So, this is what I came up with:

Side and Top View

Lots of citrusy swirls

In this shot you can see the lightly swirled tops

Had to have glitter didn't it?!

Lemongrass Verbena, mega zest in a bar

I far prefer this design and I think it matches the zingy fragrance much more!

The second soap I worked on this weekend was also a re-do of one I'd already made before but the design was definitely not sufficient enough for my tastes.  I also changed the name from Cashmere Silk to Cashmere ... all my soaps have silk added to them so why put it in the name too? Sort of guilding the lily really isn't it?

Here is the soap as was:

It's lovely and it was an incredible soap but, again, the design was a little lacking (plus the size has increased).  I've kept the fragrance the exact same though as it's just so lovely; it's described as having essences of Moroccan jasmine, lily of the valley and bergamot with warm undertones of sandalwood, amber and musk - it smells like a very top end perfume, not too floral with a warm basenote.  I adore it and it's soooo good in a body butter too - a real lingerer (which I love!). 

I wondered what sort of colours to remake this one as so I Googled the word "Cashmere" and found a lovely image of a row of cashmere scarves in the colours I used below.. they just said luxury to me and I knew I had to use them.  I used the same recipe as the Lemongrass Verbena because it works so well and is just so nice on your skin.  So, here is the new, improved Cashmere:

Side & Top View with glitter!

Top view .. I swirled the tops lightly

Yes, glitter ... of course!

Swirly layers of creamy goodness

Top & Side View

Lots of soap - the yellow colour is Gold Mica and you can see
the glisten in the slices when you hold them up close

Cashmere - an incredibly scented soap

So, you can see I had a busy weekend .. but a relaxing one that I just loved so so so much.  I adore designing new looks and thinking of something different - I guess I just love the experimental side too much!!!

If you're interested in any of these soaps (one is on pre-order already, without the buyer even seeing it!) they'll be fully cured by mid July. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Calling all Soapers... Do you Blog or Facebook?

I love love love love love love and, did I mention that I love, blogs? And most especially soap blogs? And most especially of all, soap blogs with pictures that are updated often? And did I say ones with pictures?

So, if you blog about your soaps and other bath & body products, fancy posting your link here? That way lots of people can enjoy your posts.  And I'm more than happy to add them to my blogroll too. 

Plus, if you Facebook, then I'm really happy to follow you and LIKE your page.. so show me the link and I'll be on it like butter on a hot potato!

Oh and if there are soapy bloggers out there who like to keep a blog roll (and I do it because I can keep all my favourite blogs in one place and see who updates often), then please feel free to add my blog to your list.. pretty please!  Soapies Blogs United!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Do you Comment?

I love to blog - you might have noticed.  My husband asked me one day why I do it, surely people don't all answer, so am I not sort of talking to myself.  I said I didn't mind, sometimes you get the best conversations that way (he rolled his eyes!).  But I do love getting comments, I really do.  It's a nice feeling that someone takes the time to respond to your thoughts and, occasionally, insane mutterings. 

I read a lot of blogs and I try to comment on them when I possibly can.  Sometimes I can't because I have no knowledge of the subject matter or someone else has said the exact thing I was going to say already.  I often feel bad I didn't leave a comment though and I'm going to amend that ... more commenting from me! And I like to comment because someone took the time to post up an interesting thought or article or tutorial or something and I'm very grateful they did.  The things I've learnt from other peoples blog is immense.

However, I have a minor peeve... just a tinchy one but still.  As a blog writer/owner/whatyoumacall it, I try and answer all the comments people leave for me.  Again I'm not 100% in this and again I feel bad about it so I'm going to improve that too.  But, you know, someone again took the time out to comment on a person's blog, it just seems polite to respond.  Sometimes you can just say Thanks, it doesn't take long.  I just feel that, as long as a person has commented on my post, it's nice to comment back!

So, I'm going to comment more to other peoples blog posts and I'm going to make sure I hit 100% in my replies on my own.  And that's my Sunday promise to myself! Happy rest of the weekend to you all!!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

New Cold Process Soap Packaging

I've been working on my packaging and labelling style for my cold process soaps for what seems like forever.  I keep having ideas and trying them out and either not liking them at all or liking them a little bit, but not much.  I seemed to get it almost there but never had a Eureka moment. 

I started off wanting to use something biodegradeable and thought of real cellophane film.  Not the cellophane that is generally sold (the type florists use) which is actually polyproplene but real cellulose which is made from natural products and is fully biodegradable.  However, as much as you can buy this from what feels like every second store in the US, trying to get it this side of the pond seemed next to impossible.

Then I wanted to use handmade paper - a lot of handmade paper is very thick so wouldn't be suitable or is rather expensive.  There are some really beautiful papers out there but I seemed to trawl through the net as much as I could and found the product I wanted but then they were a) too expensive or b) wouldn't send to Ireland.  Friends kindly offered to send to them to the UK and they'd send on to me but that isn't sustainable into the longer term for financial reasons plus I didn't want to drive anyone nuts either. 

I tested some lovely mulberry tissue that I found at a great price on ebay of all places and really liked it.  I finally decided to choose the white paper with silver threads which I thought was classic and beautiful.  It was thick enough to cover the soap well but thin enough to allow the customer to see the colours of the soaps plus be able to smell the fragrances though the paper. 

So once I had the paper, I worked on the labels.  As I was using white paper, I wanted to introduce some colour into the labels but also not overpower them.  I needed to fit in all the regulatory labelling issues plus make that look attractive too (as any soaper will tell you, that can be very tough!).  I wanted to include the I am Handmade brand into the labels too as it so wonderfully reflects exactly how all our products are made. 

Once I had the labels, I put them with the wrapping but there was still something missing .. and, yet again, I found the answer on ebay in the form of lots of satin ribbon! I've ordered about 24 different colours (oh I was in heaven with them, I just so adore colour) and once I'd put everything together, I had my EUREKA moment!

Below are some images of the wrapping... please note that the label for the Fresh Orange soap is slightly incorrect because it says it has a lemon fragrance.. well, of course it doesn't, I just didn't change that bit from the Fresh Lemon labels (how utterly annoying to find that once you've printed them and cut them all out!).  You look at a thing long enough and you can't even see it anymore! Argggghhhh.. oh well, I can re-print and re-do, I prefer to have it right!

A sample of wrapped soaps

You can see the threads in the handmade paper

I love the sheen on the ribbon in this picture 

I choose a golden yellow ribbon for this soap as, even though I have tons of
colours, I didn't have a bright yellow ribbon - might have to remedy that!

Lovely paper, lovely ribbon, clear and simple labels

Arrggghhh at the typo on this label, I'm reprinting as I type!

Soaps laid out in postal box

Soaps in postal box covered with lots of shredded tissue
and added compliment card

I really hope you like my new packaging - as any soaper will tell you, sourcing packaging that exactly matches the image you have in your head, for a good price and as locally as possible is next to impossible.  My advice... check out ebay!!

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