Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Holidays + My Lack Of Everything But Family Time

I have lazed about with my children for so many days and I have loved every minute of it. There have been days that I've sat around in my pajamas for the entire day, played Bananagrams, cards, baked muffins, played more, taken naps, then taken a shower just to change into clean pajamas to make dinner and lounge around some more, maybe watch a movie, or play more games. I have spent almost no time on the computer, I have done no work at all which has really been the point. I have been ill from working so much and from the stress I've been under, soooooo, I forced myself to take a holiday. Also, my kids have been saying I am always at the shop and never around (not so true but makes me sad nonetheless).

I hope you all have been enjoying your holidays with your friends or family or with your pets or at work. Whatever you have done, I hope you have had a warm and safe time and found love somewhere. Here is a little love from me :)


Monday, December 21, 2009

Harry Potter Is British Too

I found out about Tiggy Fiander of Future Primitive about a year ago and have been admiring her soaps from afar since then. She bursts with personality, charm and hysterical humor. I enjoy her company immensely when we chat on Twitter and I think she is an original all around. As a person and as a soaper. One of these days, I hope to meet her in person and and trade bars of soaps as we shake hands. ;) Wouldn't that be fun? Yup. One day, hopefully I will get my hands on some soap of hers and I'll share my thoughts with you. Recently, I was looking around for eye candy on her website and this beauty knocked me out of my chair. I am just loving it!

Potters Bar organic soap
over at Future Primitive.

This is what Tiggy Fiander says about this soap:

Originally designed and made for Matt....who likes to make pots. His hands always seem to be red...from the clay he uses; so we made this soap with wheatbran to exfoliate and remove ground in clay and grime. Gardener? Then this will work equally as well for you. It will remove all the compost and slugs from your hands, leaving them feeling sparkly clean and softenend. Scented with Lavender, Eucalyptus & Lemon essential oils. We also added raw silk and unrefined organic cocoa butter.
Below are some other lovelies she makes....

Cyclone ~
Essential oils of Juniper, Petitgrain, Bergamot, Geranium & Clary Sage
lend themselves to bring an ozonic aroma with a kick.

Elijah's Comfort -
a rose scented soap

No.11 organic soap

Follow Tiggy on Twitter!
Check out her blog!
Go see her website!
She is a slammin' good soaper.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Natural Laundry Soap ~ Under The Willow

Carrie Garvin (a.k.a. Carrie Gigi) sent me some handmade laundry soap to review and I was super excited. I had heard about laundry soap being made from cold process soap, but never actually tried it. How could it work? Wouldn't it be weird and not leave a nice scent behind?

Carrie sent me three handmade pouches in different patterns and included a fine stitched washcloth with a small plastic scoop tucked neatly in its pocket to scoop out the perfect amount of soap for each load of laundry. There were directions for top loading machines and high efficiency (HE) machines that are front loaders (which I have and actually loathe- another story, another day).

I was eager to get home and try the soap, but not so eager to do the wash. You know how that is. But since it was Carrie's soap, wellllll... I got going. I tried the Cambridge Rum because we were a fan of her Cambridge Rum soap in this family. I opened the bag. Woah. The smell was strong! I started a load and ran it right through to the end and when I dumped out the dried clothes on my bed and put the warm clothes to my nose, my senses were tickled pink with delight. It was a soft, delicate, clean scent that was unique, and very Cambridge Rum-my for those of you who are familiar with her Cambridge Rum scent, you know exactly what I mean. It is a hard scent to describe. I'll give you her description: A rich bay rum scent with notes of woods, the shore, & more... So, yes, it is wildly strong out of the bag. In fact, it helps my garage not smell so much like a garage, which is a godsend of sorts. But when you run the soap through the wash the clothes smell delicately scented, not smeared through perfume. Oh no, it is the perfect whisper of scent, I assure you.

Her laundry soap comes in three gorgeous scents: Home For The Holidays, Cambridge Rum and Lavender Grace. They really all smell amazing and our wash is clean clean clean!! For $8.00 for 2 cups, (80 loads!!) it's a no-brainer. Get yourself a batch, because not only will your clothes smell fresh and wonderful, but you will be supporting an independent soap maker, and another thing: Carrie Gigi ROCKS.

Here's some usage information:
Usage (each envelope): 2 cups will clean up to 80 loads!
Top load: 20 very LARGE loads, 40 medium/ small loads
HE/front load: 40 LARGE loads, 80 medium/small loads

Some interesting facts about Whispering Willow Natural Laundry Soap:
--Little or NO suds(no detergent!)
--NO fabric softner needed~ clothes dry very soft
--Use in all temperatures
--Created with all natural ingredients
--Measuring scoop will be included
--White decorative washing cloth will be included
--Sample of other scents will be included
--Laundry envelope is an exclusive pattern created ONLY from Under the Willow

This pretty metal spoon wasn't included, but a cute plastic one was for perfect measuring.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Mall And Getting old - My Mother's Tale

This was over this past weekend. My mother tells her story of the time she had with my kids:

Today I had a good taste of what Christmas was all about. My grandkids were unusually cranky, Nina was carrying this baby doll around for 4 days as part of a health science class assignment. At first I said "not to the mall." Nina replied, "I have to because I can't find a babysitter at this late time and mom doesn't want to babysit again." Joanna has been incredibly supportive, but Brad says Nina is suffering from postpartum depression because she has been crying a lot lately. Of course this is the funniest thing I ever heard, which makes Nina cry even more (those damn hormones)

Anyway, Desmond was very irritable and tired today. We got to the mall, he ate ravenously, then proceeded to fall asleep on a seat outside of Bloomies. Nina is prancing around outside of Jessica McClintock to show me the different "formal" dresses she likes. Of course, there is no prom, no weddings, no parties, which is usually why we buy such an evening dress, but hey, why should I burst her bubble. Now Desi wakes up and says, I saw something in Brookstone that I'd like to get. After all, Nina is getting a princess dress, why shouldn't I have a remote motorcycle. Off we go, and Nina is in the mall prancing around looking for her grandmother to show the blue taffeta pick. I just keep moving and don't look back.

Now I call my daughter, who is home trying to spend an hour or two with her husband. After all, she worked all day (today is Sunday) trying to drum up business at a holiday parade that passed in front of her store. "Jo, could you come rescue me. The kids are due for a melt down and I can't do another one with them." Sure she says.

Jo & Brad show up 1/2 hour later, pull the kids together like they always do, effortlessly, confidently, without the screaming & threats which their grandmother sometimes resorts to. What a beautiful sight. I believe it's called competence.

Anyway, we all kiss good bye and I proceed to leave the mall and spend the next 2 hours searching for my car in a security van. How embarrassing. It's hard growing older. I do believe what I want for Hanukkah or Christmas is one of those pink plastic flowers you put on the aerial of your car (aerial. Nobody has an aerial anymore. I'd better stop while I'm ahead). Is this humiliating?

I got into my car at 9:00 p.m., pulled out my pump of creme fresh, smeared it all over my hands, lips, arms and under my nose. I knew it would bring me out of my temporary depression about getting old, senile and everything else. As usual, it did the trick. I'm not my mother after all. She never smelled this good. Good night.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Quick Note: The Soap Bar Ad Sale For Dec.

Letting everyone know that this blog is offering JUST this once, $15 ad spots for non-animated jpeg links for the the rest of December. It is not long, but there are only a few days left before Christmas so if you want your wares to sell and you want a little extra exposure, who knows? It might work!

Anyway, write to me: jo(at)productbody(dot)com if you are interested. Otherwise, have a
Happy Day.

Upcoming review: Laundry soap from Under The Willow!!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

International Blues:: Soap Porn

If you can't travel this holiday season, I thought it would be fitting to bring the far away to you. Since you might be feeling a tad blue about not getting away, I figured blue was apropos for my soap porn today.

Aqua Heaven by SOAPERSTAR (Ireland)

No. 11 Organic Soap by Future Primitive (UK)

There are so many talented soapers out there, but I was having trouble finding blue. It's still morning and I tend to zone with my computer before I fully wake up. You are so lucky to have me before I am fully caffeinated. ;)

Bear with me...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Missing Lemon Biscotti

Way back when....oh, in June (?) perhaps, I received beautiful soaps that smelled wonderful and I quickly put them aside to keep them safe while I clean up my house for a showing. We were in the process of selling our house and when you have something like a parcel with tissue paper and soap hanging out, what do you do? I did the most logical thing and I packed it right up and stuck it in the foot of my closet so the place didn't look dirty when the prospective buyers came through.

That was the last time I saw that package until 5 nights ago.

The sublime Lemon Biscotti taunted me from the Etsy shop. I kept eyeballing it. I KNEW I had it here, but where? I clearly had forgotten where I had put the package.... Did I use it and black out? Did it accidentally get lost? I was beside myself because I remember smelling it and feeling so full of excitement about hitting the shower and trying that baby out! But it ran away, and took it's pastry-ness with it.

The Muse and I wrote back and forth. We were sad together. I blamed my husband, as I was sure he had done some stupid thing with it. He does that. But then... so do I. All too often, sadly. Finally, I had just assumed it got carried off with the trash somehow. UGH!

All that frustration fell away, I moved on, and Karen of Alchemic Muse sent me a small sample to replace the full bar. Oh yeah, it smelled good. It is hard to do a review on a sliver, folks. It's hard to have the full experience in the shower. So the sliver was nice but didn't impress. I like to shower with a full bar of soap 2 or 3 times to get the full effect and then continue to see how the fragrance changes, because it often does change. Morphs. The quality bars have subtle changes and I like to experience the ride. The quality fragrance oils morph beautifully while the crappier ones fall flat and ruin the soap experience. One can make a great soap but if you use an inferior fragrance oil, your reputation will suffer. And so....

So when I found the box of soaps Karen sent me I yelped with delight. Yeah, true story. Yelped. Squealed, really. It was like my birthday. I was sitting on the floor cleaning out my closet. The floor of my closet was getting taller and taller and I couldn't stand it any longer so it was time to pull everything out and reorganize. You know when the bottom of your closet starts touching the things that are hanging? That's the sign.

Ahhhh, I found my long awaited Lemon Biscotti and it still smelled heavenly....

I have to tell you, when I walked to the shower with that full bar of Lemon Biscotti, I was thinking to myself, "You better be good, be reallllllly good, because I lost you, there was drama. I found you, and much is resting on this review. Make me love you!"

I mean, I was really talking to it walking to the shower.

It did not disappoint. In fact, I was beyond happy. The bar itself smelled heavenly: Not too lemony and citrusy, or astringent, and definately not too sweet and bakery-like. This had a perfect biscotti-balance. The name was spot on. The consistency of the bar is what made me fall in love. It is an exfoliating bar, which I LOVE! Not only was it scratchy good, but it didn't slip out of my hands. :)

I do not have a photograph of my Lemon Biscotti bar because I was too excited to shoot the sucker before I showered with it and now it just is a washed up (he he, pun intended) soapie bar, It wouldn't show it justice if I shot it now. Below are a few soaps that I've hand picked from the bunch that you can purchase at the Alchemic Muse Etsy shop.

I have to tell you, the Lemon Biscotti-pastry-citrus-God made me believe in lemon bars again. MWAH!

Ginger Cake ~ limited edition
sweet cinnamon, spicy cardamom and warm ginger topped with fresh
orange slices finished off with a light dusting of sugary vanilla.

Amber Crush
This decadent soap is naturally scented with fragrant amber resins
and a touch of vanilla in a base of earthy patchouli.

Black Walnut ~ limited edition
Light notes of warm citrus rests atop a heart of roasted walnuts, brown sugar, and hazelnut java, fused
with black anise seed, earthy patchouli, and Madagascar vanilla, and winds down to a rich musk base.

Thank you Karen for your patience with the situation and my journey from start to finish. I am glad the ending was so sweet.

Just in!!

Pictures from the lady herself!!

look at the yummy bits!

Here was the Etsy description:

A delicious, bakery fresh recipe of lemon and bitter almond essential oils to brighten and refresh dull skin.

Traditionally, lemon has been used in many cultures to brighten and refresh the complexion. Moisturizing sweet clover honey helps soothe and condition the skin, while creating an extra bubbly lather.

We added sweet almond meal to this all natural soap for exfoliation to leave skin soft, smooth, and sweet.

Aromatherapy Benefits: Uplifting, Refreshing, Clarifying


Ingredients: Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Distilled Water, Sodium Hydroxide, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Honey, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Amara (Bitter Almond) Kernel Oil, Litsea Cubeba Fruit Oil, Citrus Gandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Yellow Iron Oxide, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Almond) Fruit

Oh she must make this again, so that you, too, can experience it, too.

Off The Soap Topic... Etsy Find!

Can I just say I love this?



Heavy duty steampunk pendant and necklace. $74.99

The focal point of this piece is a skeleton face pocket watch movement that has great gearing and cog detail. The front of the pendant has roman numerals with visible gears which move as time ticks away. The back of the pendant has gold and silver gears and is accented with red jewels. The piece is encased in a magnifying orb with pronounces the details of the pendant.

The piece also has a winder with a blue tip and a small bell like tassel. It has a brass like finish which goes very well with the heavy weight link chain which measures 20 inches. The pendant measures 2 inches across.

The pendant and chain will be mailed in a velvet cinch pouch.

Here is another awesome item qa create is offering:

Sterling Silver Ring with Peridot Crystal $69.99


Industrial style with simple elegance.

Handcrafted steampunk ring made with a watch movement that contains complete gearing. The watch works has gold cogs and multiple jewels.

I secured the movement to a sterling silver ring that has a very elegant band. The ring is a size 5.

The oval movement measures approximately 1/2 inch. I added a stunning peridot Swarovski Crystal.

I will ship the ring a velvet cinch pouch

I love the things I find on Etsy!!


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Me and My Pieces.....

Clever conversation has started with my daughter about my upcoming holiday gifts. Except she wants to know what I want for Christmas. I say, oh honey, make me a card and she's all, oh no mom, I want to know what you want. Hmm, so I say, no really, Nina I want you to make something for me. Buy, hey! I love wind chimes, make me wind chimes with shells that you pick from the beach or branches you find on the ground. She's like, no way mom, I've been saving my allowance.

So now it's got me thinking about stuff/objects/things/material objects.

Wow. I didn't EVER expect to stumble to this place. I was never a thing freak or materialistic, but cool stuff, and I used to like it when I had it. Did what I needed to do to get it. Get a job, barter, whatever. So now, I think about what I want so I can help my 12 year old, and I can't come up with one thing?!

Come ON!

So, this is a list of things about me that I am digging in, pulling out so I can evaluate my inner bits. Maybe make some sense of it.

my bits...

I think about my dreams when I'm not sleeping.
My sleeping dreams are bizarre fantasies that are more detailed and more interesting than most movies I have watched and often times they continue like a tv series. For instance, I will fall asleep and my dream will pick up in the exact location and in the same situation I was in last Tuesday night. Ongoing drama.
I think about the ocean more than I visit it.
I want to believe everyone means well.
I think I'm younger than I am before I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror.
I love animals, the snuggly kind, and the ones that like me, too.
I like things made by hand just for me. It makes me feel special.
I love the sound of wind rustling through leaves, especially palm trees.
I'm addicted to soap.
I love what I do.
Laughing hard is the best feeling.
I prefer independent and foreign films to blockbusters.
I hate pain.
I hate being broke.
I miss being a kid and playing dress up and getting ice cream cones and Fire Island.
I miss smoking.
I wish I had more friends.
I'd pick me for a friend if I weren't me.
I've made online friends that I wish lived closer.
Green is my favorite color. And black. And espresso.
The ocean is my favorite sound along with the sound of my children's laughter.
I love the smell of cookies, banana bread, cake.... any dessert baking is pure delight for me.
I play a mean game of air hockey.
I like games: cards, backgammon, Marco Polo, Trac Ball, Tetherball, Pictionary, Balderdash, ping pong, charades...etc.
I can snap a damp kitchen towel like nobody's business so don't mess with me once I've started kitchen clean-up or so help you.
Violence upsets me terribly, although I do watch MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). That's different, though.
Sponge Bob Square Pants is funny. I especially loved his teachings on how to blow a bubble...."and arooooouuuund the town...". :)
Frisky Dingo was just about my favorite animation show and I am so sad it is off the air.
I love opal stones.
Soft cotton pajamas and slippers may be my favorite thing to wear.
I love my bed. I could lie in it and fall asleep anytime of day or night.
I love lard bread from Brooklyn. If you aren't from Brooklyn, you won't understand.
I prefer squeaky wood floors, antique furniture and colored paint.
I like foreign food, wine, films, countries, languages and people. And YES, I believe they all deserve to be here if they want to be!
Sunlight streaming in my room makes me feel nice.
I hate feeling hunger, pain and loss.
Random hugs feel good.

There's my list. For today. I have more.
Did I get any closer to figuring out an answer for her?
Not a chance.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Laundry Soap Tutorial - Any Volunteers?

I have been asked my a few people how to make laundry soap, so I ask you, the soap people out there in Bubble Land... would anyone like to do a tutorial on making laundry soap?

I do know I have heard a lot of REALLY good things about Carrie Garvin over at Under The Willow Gifts and her fantastic laundry soap. Customers here have also asked if I would make some for them. They buy my soap, now they want me to wash their clothes. How 'bout that? Next they'll want me to wash their hair, their dog, their house and pay their mortgage...

Any volunteers?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bad Soap, Bad!

My previous post about my horrible experience with 16 pounds of failed soap made me mad and this is a follow up on what's happened since. So if you haven't read Sixteen Pounds Of Heart Breaking Soap Do-Overs Or Throw-Aways? then you might feel lost reading this.


My dear soap has been put to bed.

{Stupid head}

I cooked that sucker with oil and water and some coconut milk and I stirred and stirred and I stirred and it started to look like a beautiful vat of cooked fudge. My hopes got high and my spirit lifted, but the smell wasn't right... almost ammonia-ey. I tongue tested and zapped myself into oblivion.

I kept cooking added more water kept cooking. I was determined. I smushed every little soap bit into mush and I stirred and stirred and stirred.

Fudgey. Smooth. Got zapped again two hours later. You know, soap tastes revolting if you've never tasted it, I'll save you the trouble of feeling the urge to know if maybe it tastes good. Nope. This was chocolate soap and soap is soap, no matter what scent it is. I'm sure it was nice to watch me make a nasty face, spit a few times in the trash can and run over to grab a lollipop to kill the flavor. Bleh.

My arm was exhausted, my hand cramped and I even think I wrecked a nerve between my thumb and my index finger because it hurts like a MUTHA! So now I am mad at my soap.

I've learned my lesson. Don't leave lye solution out for three days and expect to make soap with it. I'm still learning.

That was just a ton of soap to learn with. I still say: BAD SOAP!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sixteen Pounds Of Heart Breaking Soap Do-Overs Or Throw-Aways?

I had a really busy time last week with retail orders, wholesale orders, and preparing for a my son's school craft fair fundraiser. I needed to crank out loaves of soap for a wholesale customer as well as for the shop so I prepared the lye mixtures (two sets for two 8 lb. batches) and set them aside to cool. The day I mix them went fluttering by like a turbo butterfly, as usual, and the day came to an end. I looked at the two lye mixtures and thought they'd be fine to use the next day. I've done that. It works.

Well, that very next day scurried by even faster like Runaway Ralph (a famous mouse on a motorcycle) and I had no time, not even at all, to get to making soap that day. As I was walking out of the door, I glanced at my lye solution and crossed my fingers and left for the day (the second day).

Day three: Started making soap and got to the lye solution and peered in. Hmmmmph. The solution had little shards/plates of solid lye and liquid. I figured that would all change when the lye and the oils would come together and heat up. I know, I know.... At this point, my inner lightbulb should have turned on and sparked my brain to say, "hey dummy, go make some new solution and make some great soap instead of taking a chance on 16 lbs of beautiful soap that you have made with expensive materials you've added such as babassu oil, loads of cocoa butter and kokum butter!" My reasoning? I didn't want to pour it too hot and I was scared that if I sat and waited for the lye to cool, the soap wouldn't be made again that day because of my formulating schedule.

I forced that soap to be made. I took that chance, which I happen to do with life in general, and my soap came out so beautifully. But when I went to cut it it was brittle. I did the tongue test. And I was zapped. HARD. The soap was acting as if I had added too much lye. But I didn't. I think it just didn't dissolve into the oils and there are particles floating about.

Bad soap! BAD!

C'mon. Let me blame the soap. My friend, Kim came by to chat yesterday and thankfully she chopped up two of the four loaves of soap into tiny bits while I made Coconut Milk Bath Soak. I will be cooking up that VERY BAD SOAP, adding water, stirring, adding more water today.

Are they complete piles of garbage at this point or do you all have suggestions to save these spendy loaves of soap? I think I put in 9 ounces of cocoa butter and 4 ounces of kokum butter... so I am having trouble just throwing them out.

I need your help.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Botika Closes Its Doors ~ Supplies Available

Vicki Martin, of Botika Candles, asked me to list her company's supplies to anyone who might be interested because she has decided to close her candle business. The list below has prices listed and her phone number. She is located in Texas so keep shipping costs in mind as you peruse.

I wonder if those wooden gift crates can be used as soap molds. I will be measuring mine when I get to the shop!

Vicki, I wish you the very best luck in whatever you choose to do. =)


1 Botika Candle Equipment Detail Call 806-687-1480 or 806-687-1655
2 Prices subject to change and prior sale! Quantity Price, each Price, total

4 Wicks - Various Sizes

5 Wedo LX 14 30,000
6 Wedo LX 30 10,000

8 O Haus Trooper Industrial Bench Scale TR3RS 1

10 Spraying Systems Co. - GunJet Spray Gun, Model 30L, 250 PSI, 200F (1 new, 2 used


12 Rolling bread racks each with 20 - 18" x 26" bread pans great for storage and cooling 3 $275 $825
13 Bread pans - 18" x 26" (5) 20 $6.00 $120

15 Wooden gift crates
Make an offer
16 7 1/2" L x 4" W x 2" H - 935 crates approximately

17 10 3/4" L x 3 3/4" W x 2" H - 470 crates approximately

Thursday, November 12, 2009

No Smoking, Get Clean!

I have always been a bit mystified by hemp products. Hemp is derived from marijuana but it is not marijuana. Hmm. okaaaayyyy. Honestly, I have never cared enough to ever look into it ---although, the whole hemp clothes thing stumped me years ago. How do you make clothes out of pot? Whatever. Again, I tell you. I don't care enough to look it up, and I look up everything that puzzles me. I am an information hog.

So I decided that I haven't touched on hemp oil here. The wonder oil in soaps. I still haven't tried it raw or in a soap, but in looks nice. Wonder what it smells like. Pot-ty?

Here are some beauties, I think you'll agree.

Dope On A Rope
by Point Pleasant

This soap on a stick is handmade glycerin soap blended with 100% pure cold pressed hemp seed oil, hemp seeds and patchouli essential oil. Soap has real hemp seeds & hemp fiber blended in.

Cerveza and Lime Soap
Red Eft Designs (

Not a beer drinker, but as soon as I see limes, I think of margaritas, I mean, really...

Organic Hemp Herbal Bar
by Good Enough To Eat Soap

This soap maker described in detail how each of these ingredients benefit the skin: Organic coconut oil, organic hemp oil, the hemp seed oil is infused with chamomile, comfrey, hops, marshmallow roots, nettle, parsley, sage and yucca root.

Natural Buzz Soap ~ honey buttermilk + oatmeal~
Nature's Edge Farm

Monday, November 9, 2009

Vanilla Haze

Vanilla Bourbon & Tonka Bean soap by Daybreak Lavender Farm

Two years ago, a guest blogger wrote about Daybreak Lavender Farm and particularly about a soap that I only now am seriously drooling for: Vanilla Bourbon & Tonka Bean soap.

I think two years ago when the post was written, I had been so inundated with artificial vanilla scents my entire life, that I was Vanilla-Overdosed, if you know what I mean. It wasn't until recently that I have found a new understanding and appreciation for the real Bean. In fact, my appreciation is turning into something of an obsession to find the right scent for me to create so that I can cook up my own bubbling potion in my cauldron. I am not there yet, but my journey begins. That later.

My desire (obsession) made me wander and I found the Bean and she had already been discussed here and I didn't realize it. I found her on my own. Doesn't the soap look down right edible?

The ingredients sound loving to my skin: Handcrafted of Ghanaian unrefined shea, mango and cocoa butters at in a rich base of Grade A olive oil with high oleic sunflower oil, coconut oil, pistachio oil, and castor oil.

This is how they get their soap prepared SIX MONTHS ahead of time!

Starting six months before soapmaking day, we take an insane number the finest Madagascar Vanilla beans to infuse our sunflower oil so that the orchid's elusive perfume deeply permeates every molecule of your bar.

We then add extravagant amounts of Vanilla Absolute and Vanilla Essential Oil -- along with Tonka Bean Essential Oil for a rich bottom note -- and just a touch of something very secret for the briefest of top notes.

A connoisseur's collection designed for the soap aficionado, Herbal Apothecary soaps are all handmade in small batches using the cold process method. We use only pure plant-based ingredients including natural oils, butters and waxes. We scent this exclusive collection with only pure essential oils. This creates a gentle, mild soap which is rich in unsaturated fatty acids, moisturizing and cleaning your skin.

Each bar weighs 9 ounces and costs $18.95. I thought it was a 5 ounce ouncer for $18.95 which would scare me away completely, but with all the amazing and very expensive oils and butters she puts into the soap, I can't imagine her charging much less.

I wish I had a little slice with my coffee right now so I could attach it to my nose, do some relaxing breathing and then have it join me for a bit of a shower. Doesn't that sound like a Vanilla Bean Dream?

Or am I in a Vanilla Haze?


Sunday, November 8, 2009


There are days when the cage
Doesn't seem to open very wide at all

-Martha Wainwright
(lyrics from Bleeding All Over You)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Soap Making Speed... We Better Move It

It's so hard to know how much soap to make, really. I just haven't been doing it long enough, but I'm guessing that if you are a seasoned soap maker, you probably have the same dilemma if you make cold process soap due to the lengthy cure time.

Curing soap takes 4-6 weeks with the cold process method. To make Christmas holiday shopping deadlines...hmmmm...that makes the deadline for making cp soap ...ummm... Okay, if you made a loaf of soap today, you can sell you soap on December 2nd (4 weeks), but if you are like me, and wait 6 weeks, we would have to wait until December 16th which means, we'd better get CRACKING!

I have orders of soap loaves for wholesale customers of mine and I have to make a ton of soap for the Product Body gift set we are offering in a couple of weeks. Good thing I made plenty of cp soap ahead of time for that. I will be making hot process soap as back up because the scent is so intoxicating, this stuff will fly off the shelves. Oh, it's a secret... and if you know (and you know who you are, ladies) don't squeak a peep on this blog.

Anyway, with work and other things I have to get accomplished I get squirmy and stressed because I should be making at LEAST 2 loaves of soap a day. More. I should be making more, but I just don't have time! grr.

Funny....I started soaping SO far in advance - - extra soap, more soap, lots of soap...I was SO on the ball folks. Really. This time, ME, this one, Joanna, right here, I was so prepared. And then one day a wholesale customer called and asked me what I had in my curing cabinet and claimed loaves and loaves. Oh, it's all good. I can't complain. The soapy business is good and my soaps are getting more and more popular. I am selling a lot of soap. Love it! But my soap stock is down and now I don't look quite as prepared as I once was. My cabinet is full, but my excess is not bulging. Yet.

So ... I will be on a soap making spree as I am sure some of you are already on or will be on very soon.

Tell me about YOUR soap situation this holiday season... :)

Monday, November 2, 2009


Just a personal Halloween photo...

My daughter and her friend were crayons. My daughter is the "puke green" one (yes, she chose the name for her color). They made the costumes themselves. Oh, oh... didn't you think they bought them at Target? ;)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Ocean Titanic

Made it yesterday...
Steel Cut Oats for "sand" (maybe I should have gone for regular oats, copper mica, blue mica, purple soap balls, then previous batches shredded and made into sea plants.)

Ocean Titanic
Scent: Beach House

by me at Product Body

Amber Soap Porn

Here are some Etsy finds: soap scented with amber. I am digging the amber scents these days. The mystery, the sultry lure, the history... there are some new soap makers featured here that I have not seen yet.

Eden by vervainsavon
scented with Essential oils of Amber, Patchouli, and Jasmine.
Also included resins of amber, patchouli, rose and vetiver.

Cracked Amber soap by bedickens
Scent: combination of rustic cracked amber, satiny white lavender and deep earthy sage.

Crystal Skull Soaps, 12 heads by Fig Leaf Soap
Scented with an ancient, mysterious black amber fragrance

Amber soap by Hartley
fragrance: amber

Smoked Balsam Soap with shea butter by naiad
Features pine green and billowing white peaks, fresh pine scent with notes of
campfire smoke, patchouli and amber!

Mayan Gold soap - exotic golden cocoa butter by swan mountain soaps
Fragrance is a mix of rare woods, spices and amber including several essential oils such as Sandalwood, Patchouli, Clary Sage, Vetiver, Mandarin, Lemon, Grapefruit, and Neroli.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Uphill, Barefoot ... Both Ways

{this was an email sent to me, which I edited a little to add my own personal touches to and being that I fit into to the OVER 30 crowd, reluctantly and so obviously , I lay it out....}

When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were. When they were growing up; what with walking 25 miles to school every morning....

Uphill... barefoot... BOTH ways….Yadda, yadda, yadda

And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way in hell I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on my kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it.

But now that I'm over the ripe old age of thirty, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today.

You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a Utopia!

I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have The Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the damn library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalogue.

There was no email. We had to actually write somebody a letter with a pen... Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox and it would take, like, a week to get there.

Child Protective Services didn't care if our parents beat us.

There were no MP3' s or Napsters! If you wanted to steal music, you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio and the DJ would usually talk over the beginning of the song. There were no CD players. We had tape decks in our car.

My grandpa had an 8-track. Oh yeah. Did you even ever see one of those? In A CAR?

We didn't have crap like Call Waiting. If you were on the phone and somebody else called they got a busy signal.

And we didn't have Caller ID. When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was. It could be your school, your mom, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, a collections agent, you just didn't know. You had to pick it up and take your chances.

We didn't have any fancy Playstation video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics. We had PONG. Pong rocked. Of course nowadays, if you put Pong on the tv, kids would look at you and be like, "what is this lame game?"

Then came Atari with games like Space Invaders and Asteroids. Your guy was a little square. There were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen. The game just kept getting faster and faster until you died!

You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on TV. You were screwed when it came to channel surfing! You had to get off your ass and walk over to the TV to change the channel. NO REMOTES. A lot of TVs were still black and white. At least in my house.

There was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning. Do you hear what I'm saying!?! We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons, you spoiled little rat-bastards!

And we didn't have microwaves, if we wanted to heat something up we had to use the stove.

You kids today have got it too easy. You're spoiled. You guys wouldn't have lasted five minutes back in 1980 or before!

What do YOU remember??

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Coconut Challenge Winners!

The Winner is..... drum roll, please

Amber from Amber's Ambry!!

coconutty goodness hot process soap

Amber's soap was the clear winner. Even though her soap's coconut had a slight lemongrass hint to it, it smelled the most like coconut to me. In fact, it was so yummy, I almost keeled over when I cracked that baby's paper wrapper back! She sprinkled some real coconut on the top, which added some visual appeal, but don't think the eye candy stole me away. It was the smell that won me over. Also, if you take a closer look, you can see the sections of darkness here and there throughout the bar. It almost looks as if the bar was toasted a bit. Overall, the bar is a winner and I am ready to go take a shower with it.

As the winner, Amber will receive 2 months of advertising on The Soap Bar for FREE!

There was a tie for the runners up slot.


Debbie Chialtas, of Soapy Love, for her creative coconut shaped soap. Take a look:

Soapy Love coconuts

Debbie will get 1 months advertising for free on The Soap Bar blog.

All of the straight coconut scents, as I had feared, left me wanting more, desiring that nutty milk that I could almost smell but that turned into a plastic-y sad something else. The soaps smelled very nice, but all of the soaps that I received had a common cousin, so to speak. Do not get me wrong. Every soap smelled good. Just not quite like a coconut..... Like the inside of a Mounds.

You know what I mean.

Here are the lovely soaps that came to my door. Every soap maker was kind enough, brave enough and generous enough to get their bars to me for the challenge and I take my fancy hat off to them. Thank you, thank you.

di Palermo Body

Burnt Mill Candle & Soap

Sturgis Soap Factory

Alchemic Muse

Paradise Body Shop

Body By M

La Bella Donna

Polka Dots and Posies

Bubbles Variety Shoppe

Thank you, nuts!